A Tribute to Maurice White

It is with sadness that we hear of the passing of Maurice White, well known as the founder of the Maurice White Native Forest Trust.

Maurice was a local businessman who worked as an accountant, and set up the Trust to fund local ecological restoration projects. His association with botanist Hugh Wilson began in the 1980’s when Hugh had approached Maurice to discuss joining forces to enable the purchase of what is now the well-known Hinewai Reserve. The initial 109 hectare block was then marginal hill country, highly infested with gorse, but since its purchase in 1987 has been transformed over time into the beautiful reserve that it is today. With the vision and commitment of Maurice and Hugh working together as a formidable team, their dream to see a reserve that enables the protection and restoration of indigenous vegetation and wildlife has become a reality.

Over time the Trust has greatly enlarged the Reserve, purchasing Ōtānerito Station in 1991, and since 2016 the Trust has also manages the adjacent 192 hectare Purple Peak Curry Reserve, after its purchase that year.

As Hinewai Reserve celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2017 Maurice was honoured for the huge role he had played and his long and loyal association with all of the reserves projects and achievements.

An extraordinary man, described by many as a true gentleman, he was devoted to his family and at age 95 Maurice was still living at home with the assistance of his three daughters up until the time of a recent fall when he was then hospitalised.

Maurice is fondly remembered, and we are grateful to him for the amazing legacy he has helped create for future generations to enjoy.

Below is a link to a radio interview with Hugh Wilson being interviewed by Kathryn Ryan. Hugh discusses how he and Maurice first set up Hinewai.

https://www.rnz.co.nz/audio/player?audio_id=2018703481

Also here is the link to Hugh Wilsons newly released movie – “Fools and Dreamers” – his story of Hinewai. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VZSJKbzyMc

You can also read more about Maurice’s life in this Press article.



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