2005/6 – WADE DOAK

The advocate for marine conservation in New Zealand


Wade Doak being presented the award from the 2004 recipient Dr Bill Ballantine on the right. Jan Doak is in the centre.

The following is an extract from the speech by the awards second recipient Dr. Bill Ballantine:

“I am absolutely delighted to be asked to present this award to Wade Doak.

Many people have had a part in pushing back the frontiers of diving, increasing our knowledge of the sea and helping the general public to appreciate the richness and complexity of marine life, but no one in New Zealand has done so much as Wade Doak.

I first met Wade in the 1960’s, but by then he was already a major player in the diving world, as a pioneer of techniques, as a photographer, as an explorer of new sites, as the editor of his Dive Magazine and as a champion of the Poor Knights.

He came on the very first course held at the Leigh Marine Laboratory, along with Kelly Tarlton, Jeff Perch and a dozen others. The first session wasn’t going very well until Wade rushed up grabbed the chalk out of my hand and started to organise things. Well, he was a schoolteacher!

He was way ahead of his time. In the 1970s we were trying to make detailed New Zealand wide distribution maps of fish. His book on fishes was a world leader – not a catch and cook them book or just an identification guide, it was how to watch and learn – like bird watching.

I am amazed that anyone so enthusiastic as Wade can be so patient, keeping going in the face of so much ignorance, so much prejudice. It took 14 years to get a half -pi marine reserve at the Knights and another 17 years to make it a real one.

I am amazed that he can do so many things so well. I teased Wade into diving in a mangrove forest. Six months later there was a half hour TV film!Then there are the books (20 titles) articles, photos, his web site and hundreds of talks etc.

I wish to ask Jan to join her husband on the podium as she is Wade’s partner in every sense.
Thank you, both. It is my duty and pleasure to present this award to you – you deserve it!”

This prestigious award was presented during the dinner of the South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society (SPUMS) Annual Scientific Meeting held during April at Oceans Resort, Tutukaka New Zealand

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