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.
In 2003 Roger moved to Nelson, where he has built a new home adjacent to the Waimea Estuary, Richmond. He lives there with his wife Deidre. He continues to be a strong advocate for the environment, often utilising his creative talents as an accomplished songwriter and balladeer.
Roger in his efforts to contribute to understanding and improving the environment has drawn on a number of ever developing creative talents, with a glimpse of Roger the storyteller provided in this excerpt.
And I tried to employ the tussock approach which was you know, people used to call me a “greenie” but in fact I used to say well I’m more of a “tussocky” really, and they’d ask me what that meant and I would say well that’s a practical “greenie”. A “tussocky” will give you . . ., it will grow on the side of a mountain and it will give your children a foothold to get to the top and we don’t wither in the storms, you know”.
Roger reflects on the success of the Friends of the Estuary Group 1990-2003, formed on the basis of his initiative, and at the same time environments and places that have had special significance for him.
I was born in the middle of the heart of Otago,(Roxburgh). I mean there is no estuaries, and no sea, it’s funny isn’t it. I sometimes don’t know what it is that drives me along. But I do know that I love the environment here [living alongside Mapua Estuary, Nelson] I loved living in Sumner. I love the open sea. The [Friends of the] Estuary I think was a vehicle which enabled me to feel as though I was doing something to contribute a wee bit and it just captured me, ah, I don’t think it became something that was overpoweringly demanding of my time, the opportunity to be helpful, seemed to be there, and so I took advantage of that. And I have met some amazing people along the road, and I…. yeah, it’s been a lovely experience.