Wellington's conservation community has been rocked by the loss of a tenacious and passionate environmentalist, who never let the word "no" stop him.
Prominent conservationist Colin Ryder died suddenly in an accident on Tuesday.
Described as a "driving force" and an inspiration and mentor to others, Ryder devoted more than 30 years of his life to protecting the environment in and around Wellington.
Forrest and Bird Wellington conservation manager Amelia Geary said his legacy in local conservation could not be overstated.
"Mana Island is mouse free thanks to Colin. Wellington has a marine reserve thanks to Colin at Taputeranga thanks to Colin," she said.
"Wellington has Baring Head protected and in public ownership thanks to Colin, not to mention a myriad of other projects he had his fingers in which he largely fundraised and championed across Wellington."
Ryder's key achievements included the eradication of rodents on Mana Island from 1989 – 91, which at the time was the largest mouse eradication in the world.
His formation of the Taputeranga Marine Reserve charitable trust and protection of Baring Heads, which he purchased on behalf of New Zealand, were also part of his ongoing legacy to conservation.
His tenacity and refusal to take no for answer was one of his greatest strengths in the conservation space, Geary said.
"Colin, he just cut through the red tape and made things happen."
"30 years ago they thought the mouse eradication on Mana was impossible but Colin disagreed and made it happen."
"He never let 'no' stop him, he was just very tenacious with the projects he wanted to pursue, things that he thought should be done or should be protected."
"Colin said quite a lot that Conservation was only limited by the lack of money - if you can raise money to make things happen in conservation, anything's possible."
Ryder himself had raised more than $20 million over his lifetime for conservation projects in the region, but also donated his time, encouragement and management skills, mostly on a voluntary basis.
He was always eager to encourage anyone with an interest in the environment, Geary said.
"He had a twinkle in his eye and a cheeky chuckle," she said.
"He would talk to anyone and encourage anyone in their pursuit of protecting the environment and he helped in any way he could."
"Colin's legacy is that he was a mentor to so many people."