2016 – DANNY BOULTON (1951–2014)

One person can make a difference

The 13th presentation of the Award was at the New Zealand Underwater Association’s AGM hosted in the Nelson Underwater Club clubrooms, 1–3 July 2016.

Recipient: Danny Boulton (1951–2014)

Marlborough Sounds Marine Environment Advocate.

Danny Boulton.

Danny Boulton.

Danny was a remarkable man

In 1989 Danny and his wife Lyn purchased a Marlborough Sounds property and developed it into the now well-known French Pass Sea Safaris and Beachfront Villas. Danny’s passion for the welfare of the marine environment ecosystem logically grew out of this move.


Chairman of the French Pass Marine Reserve Committee. He was the driving force behind obtaining underwater video which resulted in widespread community support for the reserve.


In partnership with friend Rob Schuckard, he monitored the king shag population in the Sounds. These birds (approx. 840) are endemic to the Sounds. The information that Danny and Rob obtained is still used today in coastal marine development.

Danny filmed several underwater reefs at the entrance to the Pelorus Sounds to record the reef’s health during discussions to change the existing muscle farm to a salmon farm. He became chairman of the group Sustain our Sounds, which was a full-time job in itself.

When a Board of Inquiry was started to investigate the proposed expansion of salmon farms (and changes to Marlborough Sounds Resource Management Plan) by New Zealand King Salmon, he was an expert witness. He provided information and underwater video regarding the transformation of the benthic environment as a result of salmon farming. The legal battle ended up in the Supreme Court in Wellington. Danny, whose battle with cancer lasted nearly a decade, had to discharge himself from hospital to travel to Wellington for the hearing; he was never going to miss that!

He thanked King Salmon for forcing him to dive and film the inner and outer Marlborough Sounds as he found the biodiversity in these areas comparable with the Great Barrier Reef. The result of the Supreme Court decision was a nationwide ruling to get back to the original concept of the Resource Management Act.


L–R: Amy Jenner (neé Boulton), Lyn Boulton and Ross MacDonald, a personal friend and past recipient of the Award (2011). Ross presented the Award to Lyn.

L–R: Amy Jenner (neé Boulton), Lyn Boulton and Ross MacDonald, a personal friend and past recipient of the Award (2011). Ross presented the Award to Lyn.

Danny started a project to raise funds for a bronze statue of the dolphin Pelorus Jack. (The world’s only ‘fish’ protected by a special government regulation.) Danny’s passion led to information panels being erected and his dream of a bronze dolphin statue at French Pass will at long last be achieved this September with its unveiling!

He resigned from Sustain our Sounds in early 2014 due to his deteriorating health.

Danny is a most worthy recipient of this Award. He did make a difference.

I wish to thank Danny’s wife, Lyn, and her family; Ross McDonald and his wife Vera; and Rob Schuckard for their passion in sharing their memories of Danny – most appreciated.

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