Oral History Interviews

Over the past two years we’ve had a number of oral history recordings done with people who have lived and worked around the Avon-Heathcote Estuary/Ihutai.

These have recently been turned into Radio Programmes and are played fortnightly on 96.9 Plains FM in Christchurch. 

Alex Drysdale

Alex Drysdale was the inaugural chairman for the Avon-Heathcote Estuary Ihutai Trust, from 2002 to 2009. He has been a tireless tactician in advocating for the improvement and protection of the Avon-Heathcote Estuary and its catchment. He achieved success in this role by utilising his collaborative style, with the backing of science and sound research. He holds a, far in to the future, worldview of the benefits of caring for the environment. He is a sailor, a member of the Mount Pleasant Yacht Club, and from 2006 to 2008 he was the club’s Commodore.

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Chrissie Williams

Chrissie was a member of the Waste Water Working Party 1996-2000, established to consider alternate solutions to releasing waste effluent in to the Avon-Heathcote Estuary. She also took a leading role in the community consultation process, which commenced in 1998 and led to the formation of the Avon-Heathcote Estuary Ihutai Trust, 2002. She has attended numerous wetland organisations meetings, as well as being a participant in a variety of practical initiatives. The local wetland associations she has been affiliated with include the Combined Estuary Association [Christchurch Estuary Association], the Friends of the Estuary, Travis Wetland Trust, and the Bexley Wetland Trust. She is a founding Trustee of the Avon-Heathcote Estuary Ihutai Trust, and currently continues in this role.

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Elisabeth Stuart-Jones

Elisabeth Stuart-Jones was the secretary for the Friends of the Estuary group for eight years and made a significant contribution to the success of this organisation. She was affectionately given the title “mother of the estuary.” The group benefited from her strength as a local networker, communicator and thoughtful thinker. The Friends of the Estuary group initiated by Roger Lusby existed from 1990-2003.

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Kevin O’Connor

Since 1956 Kevin, along with his wife and family have lived on Clifton, their home having a panoramic view across, and vastly beyond the Avon-Heathcote estuary. Kevin has found this daily proximity to the waterway, has provided him with a deeply personal opportunity to observe and reflect, on the city’s wetland system.

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Les & Dorothy Batcheler

Les and his wife Dorothy have lived in the suburb Southshore, on the Spit, adjacent to the Avon-Heathcote Estuary since 2009. Les was a prominent contributor to the Combined Estuary Association’s successful challenge to the Christchurch City Council’s plan to continue discharging treated sewage wastewater in to the estuary (process commenced c.1995).

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Murray & Helen Snowdon

Murray Snowdon has lived adjacent to the Avon-Heathcote Estuary for most of his life. Initially as a child in Beachville Road, Redcliffs. In 1950 he and his wife Helen settled on the lower reaches of Mount Pleasant, and were still living there in 2010. Murray, a keen sailor and fisherman, is a Life member of the Mount Pleasant Yacht Club, and was Commodore from 1971-73. He has also had a long association with Fish and Game, and the Christchurch Estuary Association.

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Peter Neal

Peter Neal originally from Norwich, England, migrated with his wife and family to New Zealand in 1970, shortly after arrival the couple bought a section and had a house built at the further end of Rockinghorse Road, Southshore, adjacent to the reserve at the toe of the spit of the Avon-Heathcote Estuary. They have lived there since. Peter is a keen fisherman and water fowler, and has had a long held role of informal custodian for the reserve, initiating and maintaining a number of planting projects in the area.

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Roger Lusby

Roger Lusby became involved with the Combined Estuary Association [now the Christchurch Estuary Association] through his local residents’ group while living on Clifton Hill, Sumner. Challenged by the central approach of the existing estuary association and “itching to do something positive,” Roger took the initiative of forming a new organisation the Friends of the Estuary 1990-2003. This group developed the catch phrase Education + Awareness = Protection, following the line of Roger’s original idea to create an “education wing” of the earlier formed Estuary Association.

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Roger Lusby

Roger Lusby became involved with the Combined Estuary Association [now the Christchurch Estuary Association] through his local residents’ group while living on Clifton Hill, Sumner. Challenged by the central approach of the existing estuary association and “itching to do something positive,” Roger took the initiative of forming a new organisation the Friends of the Estuary 1990-2003. This group developed the catch phrase Education + Awareness = Protection, following the line of Roger’s original idea to create an “education wing” of the earlier formed Estuary Association.

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Tanya Jenkins

In the 1990’s, Tanya Jenkins developed paid work as an independent environmental educator, initially volunteering at St Martin’s Primary where her children attended school at the time. Her effort was augmented by her meeting the core group of the Friends of the Estuary organisation. She is a founding Trustee of the Avon-Heathcote Estuary Ihutai Trust and continues to be involved in the “hands on” improvements of the estuary and its catchment. She lives in Woolston, where she is never far from the estuary and the adjoining wetland reserves. Tanya is originally from Holland.

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