Charles Fleming, “Environmental patriot” a biography by Mary McEwen.
Updated: Sep 24, 2021
On a recent road trip to the lower North Island we discovered the book town of Featherston and just had to check it out. I discovered the above book and knew the name Charles Fleming as a well-known ornithologist, scientist, geologist and was delighted to find much written about the Chatham Islands. He had a fascinating life and became stalwart of fighting and protecting areas of land that were going to be developed for housing like the Waikanae beach around the Waimeha lagoon which we visited and discovered a pair of Black fronted dotterel. His trips to the Chathams were what really inspired me and now knowing this place a little brought the islands to life. His climb with Turbott and Wotherspoon on to the summit of Little Mangere was richly rewarded with the sighting of Forbes parakeet and a pair of Black robin! There are plenty of illustrations to make this book worthwhile in any nature lovers bookcase.
His passion and efforts put great stress on him, particularly trying to stop the raising of Lake Manapouri which led to a near fatal coronary thrombosis however he survived and continued in his love of this country to protect and save many parts of New Zealand.
I highly recommend this book by his daughter as a must read.
Review by Will Parsons