Many inspired by kiwi conservationist
Coromandel conservationist Arthur Hinds has died in a treefelling accident.
Hinds, 70, led one of the country’s most successful kiwi protection projects and numerous conservation efforts across the Waikato and Coromandel.
He was hit by a falling tree while working with a chainsaw on a property in Whenuakite, north of Tairua, Waikato police Senior Sergeant Dave Raffan said on Monday.
The death has been referred to the coroner.
Family members – who found Hinds on Saturday evening – have asked for privacy and will hold a private service.
But many in the community were willing to speak about the pragmatic dairy farmer and kiwi conservationist.
Emily O’Donnell, a friend of Hinds, said she was heartbroken to hear of his death.
If he wasn’t out setting traplines, the Coromandelraised man of action could be found on the farm, she said.
He helped O’Donnell put up a fenceline on her property, but it was only typical of a family always willing to roll up their sleeves.
He was someone who never stopped seeking knowledge, O’Donnell said.
‘‘It began when he was a director on the New Zealand Dairy Board, and as his knowledge and experiences changed, so too did his desire to get involved.’’
Discovering kiwi on his Whenuakite dairy farm fuelled the conservationist in Hinds and led him to chair the Whenuakite Kiwi Care Group, formed in 2000.
The group cares for 4000 hectares of regenerating forest, both public and private land, and has eliminated more than a thousand stoats, 250 feral cats, 130 weasels and 11 ferrets from the area with nearly 500 traps.
Starting with an estimated 29 kiwis in 2009, a 2010 survey found 98 kiwi.
A strong advocate for 1080, Hinds said in 2012 that three airdrops of the poison had produced ‘‘stunning results’’, with some 150 kereru grazing in his paddocks.
‘‘The only detrimental effect is we don’t get a lot of fruit now because the kereru come in and strip our fruit trees. Even our ornamental trees are stripped back; it’s a nice problem to have,’’ he said at the time.
But this no-nonsense approach to conservation – which had many dogs loose in the kiwi care zone shot – drew its detractors.
An anti-1080 protester punched the then-chairman of the Waikato Conservation Board three times outside a community meeting in 2011.
Outside of Whenuakite, his conservation credentials spanned the Coromandel Catch- ment Committee, Maungatautari and the Lake Taupo Protection Trust.
Hinds was also a former Waikato regional councillor for the Coromandel.
Thames Coromandel District Council Mayor Sandra Goudie said Hinds epitomised the people of the Coromandel.
He was not only typical of the region’s strong environmental streak, but a leading light in kiwi conservation around the country.
Hinds was diligent and considered in the many appointed roles in which she worked with him. It was that nuanced view, an understanding of the balance at play in the environment in which he lived and worked, that Goudie appreciated most.
‘‘The substantial gains that have been made in the Coromandel are made because of people like Arthur.’’
Former Waikato regional councillor Peter Buckley first met Hinds when the two were involved in the now-defunct New Zealand Dairy Group.
Buckley, himself a conservation-bent dairy farmer, said many were inspired by and emulated Hinds.
He was the first port of call for many in the community, whether it was Coromandelspecific, farming, or conservation matters.
‘‘He wouldn’t turn many people down when it came to jobs or goals that people had out there.’’
Waikato Regional Council chair Alan Livingston said Hinds’ work on behalf of the community was greatly appreciated. ‘‘He showed strong community leadership and worked very hard to protect the environment.’’
Notable Coromandel kiwi conservationist Arthur Hinds.