Environmentalist and Underwater Researcher, Seahorse 2000 project, Maui’s Dolphin
The Wyland Philosophy that one person can make a difference whilst working unheralded, and for no personal monetary gain or personal rewards, is a philosophy that makes a strong statement in itself and can really only apply to a very special person who is dedicated and passionate about a particular cause.
Mike Percy instigated the Western Underwater Research Team (WURT) in June 1993 as a sub division within the main club for members wanting to become involved in a marine environmental group. WURT is a voluntary and non-profit making group with the members giving freely of their own time, skills and equipment. Coming up to 15 years further down the track, this group is still going strongly thanks to the efforts Mike has personally put in to keep members informed of the many projects that they have become involved with as well as applying for grants and funding to support these projects. Members in WURT have come and gone over the years, as they do, however Mike has recruited new, interested divers to take their place and ensure that they group’s valuable work has carried on. At times he has almost becomea one-man band, but this has never deterred him and he still maintains the drive and determination needed to maintain his passion for the marine environment and the protection of it.
Dave Moran from Dive New Zealand asked Paul Oxton to organise the presentation of the Wyland Award for this year within the Western Underwater Dive Club clubrooms.
This year’s recipient of the award certainly meets the criteria and has done so, for the past 15 years. The work this person has put into promoting the environment and in particular our seas and foreshores, is really quite remarkable and an outstanding achievement. Where walls get thrown up in front of his cause his determination and passion make it possible for him to either find a way around them or knock them down where many others would simply have thrown their arms in the air and given it away.
On the way to achieving all of this, he has put this club’s name in front of not only the New Zealand Dive Industry but also within Australia and the UK as well.
Survey dives monitoring the changes in specific local dive sites, beach cleanups, trade show displays, numerous local community displays, Seahorse Survey 2000 – these things are still all happening thanks to this one man. The hours that he puts into these projects makes one wonder how he also has the time to hold down a full time job!
I believe you would be hard pressed to find a more deserving recipient within the New Zealand diving fraternity.