Town planner. Died aged 90

Born and educated in Wellington, Frederick William Osborn (Fwo) Jones devoted most of his working life to the planning and development of the Auckland region. His influence on Auckland as we know it today was significant.

Jones enlisted in 1939 and was an officer in the 19th Army Troops Company, including service in Egypt, Greece and Crete, where he was captured after the German parachute invasion of the island. He spent nearly four years as a prisoner of war in Germany. With the assistance of the International Red Cross, Jones was able to further his studies while in the POW camps.

This allowed him to add town planning and structural engineering qualifications gained in England after the war to his Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) from Canterbury University.

On his way back to New Zealand Jones spent time with the Tennessee Valley Authority furthering his knowledge of large-scale development.

He was appointed Regional Planning Officer for Auckland in 1946, before becoming the Director of Planning for the Auckland Regional Planning Authority, a position he held until he retired in the 1970s.

The 50s and 60s were a period of great expansion and much of what was decided then has an ongoing effect on Aucklanders today. With Arthur Dickson, Auckland City's engineer, Jones undertook the initial planning of the motorway network when the Auckland Harbour Bridge was being planned.

He was also involved in the planning of the airport at Mangere, particularly the land uses on the surrounding areas affected by aircraft noise. And he had a major input into the debates over the planning of what would become the major centres of Manukau, North Shore and Waitakere Cities.

Most significant of all, Jones conceived the regional parks programme, resulting in the network of regional parks Aucklanders enjoy today. As Regional Planning Director he was concerned at the rate Auckland's coastal land was being subdivided and the loss of easy public access. His dream was to bring unspoiled beachfront land into public ownership and to open the beachfronts up as regional parks for the public to enjoy.

He identified Wenderholm and Long Bay and other sites as properties to be protected. Empowering clauses were drafted to create a regional authority and those clauses were incorporated in the act passed in 1963. By March 1965 the purchase of Wenderholm as the first regional park was complete. The regional parks programme never looked back.

In 1965 Jones could not have foreseen the day when Auckland would have more than 20 regional parks, with annual visitor numbers in the millions.

He had a quiet, unobtrusive yet persuasive manner. Future generations will inherit the benefit of his foresight. He did not seek publicity or praise. He encouraged and mentored his staff, who had a great affection for him.

Fwo Jones is survived by his wife Eleanor.