The Waitakere Ranges Protection Society is saddened by the recent passing of Emeritus Professor John Morton. His contribution to New Zealand science and specifically to our knowledge of the Waitakere coast marine zoology is unsurpassed.
A patron of the Society (together with Dr. Lucy Cranwell-Smith) since its formation in 1973, Professor Morton was a pivotal influence in the protection and conservation of the Waitakere Ranges. As the marine life on the rocky coastline came under threat in the 1990's from human predation and natural events, his support was very important in getting protection of shellfish at Karekare and Piha.
He was an inspirational teacher, and many people who were fortunate to accompany him on field trips will remember his enthusiasm as he shared his extensive knowledge and deep respect for the environment.
The Society are honoured to have had his support for the past 38 years, and wish to pass our condolences on to his family, friends and colleagues.
John Edgar ONZM
The Waitakere Ranges Protection Society Inc
About the Waitakere
Ranges Protection Society
The Society is a community based
organisation with a membership of over 600 individuals and families.
It is an incorporated society.
It has been in existence since 1973 and in that time has
campaigned for the preservation and restoration of the Ranges
through direct action in restoration planting, weed control,
through interventions on both planning matters and on public works which
threatened the integrity of the area.
Our Patrons are Emeritus Professor John Morton QSO, MSc NZ, PhD DSc, Lond., FRSNZ, HonFLS
(Zoology, The University of Auckland), Emeritus Professor Richard Bellamy
CNZM, BSc NZ, MSc PhD, FRSNZ (Biological Sciences, & former Dean of
Science, The University of Auckland) and the Rt. Hon Jonathan Hunt ONZ Former NZ High Commissioner to the United
Auckland region derives much of its unique character from the
magnificent forest-clad ranges to the west - the Waitakere Ranges.
This expansive area of native forest has been occupied for more than
a thousand years. The impact of people has been greatest in the last
one hundred and fifty years when the kauri giants were felled.
the Ranges are recovering. Much of the land has been protected and
is regenerating. However forest recovery is now severely jeopardised
by weeds and pests which kill mature bush and prevent regrowth.
On privately owned land, continuing subdivision and bush clearance
not only damage the immediate environment but also place the larger
region at risk of further degradation both visually and ecologically.
The Waitakere Ranges has a significant coastline, nature at its most
powerful and poignant, but is stressed though the increasing number of visitors,
intensive recreation, and excessive fishing and shellfish gathering.
The Te Henga wetland is the region's most important swamp, a vital
habitat for fifteen species of native birds. Yet here too land
clearance and weed invasion insidiously threaten its ecological
cumulative effect of all this is irreparable damage to the region's
outstanding natural landscape. Continuing vigilance is needed to
protect the Ranges from such an outcome.
authorities which administer the Waitakere Ranges and West Coast are
all required to prepare management plans.
These plans collectively determine the future
of the Ranges.
It is vital that clear and compelling submissions are presented to
all of these plans. Where necessary, these are followed through with
appeals. This requires a huge volunteer effort and funding.
Conservation is achieved only after a great deal of hard, persistent
effort - which is where the Waitakere Ranges Protection Society
Society's fundamental goals are:
protect Auckland's western forest and coastline from degradation and to
promote its conservation.
enhance environmental values and restore disturbed areas to
see the region managed and nurtured by a unified and consistent
philosophy of protection.
provide an unequivocal voice speaking for this area of exceptional
The Ranges are a place of high value, for
its ecosystems, for the beauty of its rugged landscape, its ocean and
harbour shore and for its native plant and animal life.
It is important that places like this are protected for their own
sake and also for their value to people.
We have a duty, to think about the generations yet to come as well.
We owe them an inheritance that is not debased and ruined because of
short-term thinking and inappropriate development.
The Society is leading the fight against the present Waitakere
City Council's slackening of constraints on subdivision in the
The Society is a proponent of a special planning status for the Waitakere Ranges - as a Heritage Area. For more
about this see our
Presenting submissions to statutory plans.
Identifying land worthy of public ownership and lobbying
for its addition as parkland.
Developing strategies to combat invasive weeds and pests.
Tree planting and weed control working bees.
Organising informative walks, talks and publications including a
newsletter for members.
Initiating legal action when necessary.
are the Waitakere Ranges?
The Ranges are in
New Zealand's North Island and are west
of Auckland, mostly within the boundaries of Waitakere City.
(The northern foothills extend into Rodney District Council).