The visionary for marine reserves


2003 recipient Steve Weidmann presenting the award to Bill Ballantine.

Bill has long been regarded in New Zealand as the Father of Marine Reserves having been promoting the concept for over 40 years.

Originally he came from England to take up a lecturing position at Auckland University. He soon shifted to the Marine Laboratory at Leigh and was its resident biologist and later its director during the period from 1965 to 1985.

He was instrumental in establishing New Zealand’s first Marine Reserve at Goat Island in 1975. There are now 19 reserves spread around the coastline. He was recognised for his efforts in the protection of the marine environment when the United Nations awarded him the prestigious Goldman Environmental prize in 1996. Bill acknowledges the inspiration he received from Professors Val Chapman and John Morton of Auckland University for lighting his fire of passion for protecting the marine environment. Even in retirement he still passionately promotes his long held vision to have a network of marine reserves covering at least 10 percent of New Zealand’s territorial waters.

Next time you are enjoying the spectacular marine life in a marine reserve, spare a thought for the man who worked tirelessly to make reserves an acceptable reality.

Congratulations Bill and thanks from all of those who now see untouched marine life going about its own evolutionary development without man interfering.

Many future generations’ will continual to marvel at the marine wonderlands you have helped to protect, we salute you!
Thanks to the Dolphin Underwater Club for allowing this prestigious award to be presented at their 50th Anniversary celebrations dinner.

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