Author(s): Mary McEwan
'He serves his country best who loves the land itself.' So wrote Charles Fleming in the winter of 1972, when the battle to save Lake Manapouri had not yet been won and conservationists were girding their loins to fight for native forests. But this remarkable New Zealander was much more than a committed conservationist. In a life packed with achievements and honours, Charles Fleming's influence spread far beyond New Zealand.He became highly regarded in the fields of palaeontology, geology, zoology and biogeography and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1967 and later an Honorary Foreign Member of the American Philosophical Society. In 1977 Fleming was knighted for services to science and conservation. Perhaps his most important scientific contribution was as a bio-geographer, a field in which he combined his understanding of geology and palaeontology with his knowledge of living organisms.But it was in the conservation movement that Fleming had his largest following. Actively involved in the Save Manapouri Campaign in the early 1970s, he later became a fearless spokesman for the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society and the Native Forests Action Council in campaigns to save New Zealand's native forests. In this fascinating, readable and timely biography, Charles Fleming's daughter, Mary McEwen, tells the extraordinary story of an extraordinary man.First published November 2005.
Shortlisted for Montana New Zealand Book Awards: Biography Category 2006.