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.
Originally from Great Britain, with a life time interest in fishing and shooting waterfowl, Peter’s attitude about the care of the environment has long been developed. These earlier personal experiences and learnings he considers transferrable to his Southshore home and habitat.
The motto…..I belong to a association called WAGBI, and it was the Wild Fowl association of Great Britain and Ireland and the, ah… one of the main sponsors there was the Duke of Edinburgh and he use to come along to the odd big meeting and put forward an extremely humorous and informed thing [speech] and the motto of the association was a, comment made by King George V, and he made the comment that; “the wildlife of today is not ours to dispose of as we please, we have it in trust for those who come after us,” and I think that is what we should try and maintain, that idea [here].
And I’m presuming you mean the flora and the fauna, and the land, the land and the water.
Yeah, Yeah, try and leave it better than when you found it.
Peter considers he has an enviable lifestyle; a home for all seasons, living and recreating, adjacent to spacious beach reserves, at the edge of the Avon-Heathcote estuary on the spit at Southshore:
Well obviously I enjoy all, all part of it [living adjacent to the estuary] whether summer, summer, spring, autumn winter cause it’s different, you’ve got different birds arriving, all different species of birds getting here. I don’t think the species of bird are going to make, be made any different by the fact we have cleaned the estuary up. The stuff that’s effected by the cleaning of the estuary is underwater rather than the bird population. But its, its just that I can walk out of, walk out of my front door here and with in a few hundred yards I could be, I could be miles from anywhere. The only houses you see, you can see when you get out there [spit side of the estuary] are the houses on the hill. I often think to myself poor buggers all they can do is sit up there and look at it they can’t get themselves involved and enjoy it like we can down here on the flat.