A Tribute to Simon Collins (25/02/1973 - 20/03/2021)

A Tribute to Simon Collins (25/02/1973 - 20/03/2021)

It is with great sadness that we relay the passing of Rotokare's Sanctuary Manager, Simon Collins, on Saturday  20th March 2021.

Simon was an indefatigable, passionate force for conservation in Taranaki, New Zealand, and worldwide. A natural leader, fluent speechmaker, and strong wildlife advocate, Simon played a huge role in making Rotokare the incredible place it is today, including in facilitating the return of nine species back into the sanctuary, three of which were previously extinct in Taranaki. His ultimate vision was to have Rotokare “spewing” out wildlife naturally to the surrounding environment. Simon valued the power of community and collaboration, and cared for his Rotokare whānau deeply.

Simon passed suddenly of a heart attack while out cycling on that fateful day. His input, insight, and cheeky personality will be deeply missed by the all those who were fortunate to know and work with him. A service to celebrate his life was held on 27th March, 2021 in Stratford; in lieu of flowers, his family requested that donations be made to the Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust.

A moving karakia at Rotokare, led by Tāne Houston of Ngati Tupaia, helped with the passing of Simon’s spirit. In a very uncommon occurrence, in acknowledgement of the esteem Ngati Tupaia held for Simon, his wairua/spirit was instilled as kaitiaki/guardian of Rotokare. His spirit remains strong at Rotokare and his legacy will live on in the reserve.

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