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A Tribute to Bill Ballantine (1937-2015)

bill thumbWithout any doubt Bill's contribution to marine conservation is legendary stuff. I would argue that Bill sits in a class of his own in our short New Zealand history of marine conservation. Last year he released a paper reviewing 50 years of experience with marine reserves; the fact that it is 50 years of his own direct experience is testament to his commitment.

There are endless stories of Bill’s amazing campaigning, teaching and mentoring over years, from one end of New Zealand to the other. In action he never hesitated to challenge people whilst giving them patient attention; a master of revealing the underlying fallacies of an opposing argument - respectfully - swiftly followed by an invitation to change position. He studied this basic interaction with people with the same brilliance and deep thought he gave to all his work.

Bill taught by example: he had incredible strength and endurance as a teacher and campaigner and he expected as much from his students. What most New Zealanders don't know is that Bill's work on the 'principles' of marine conservation led the way to advances in science and practice all over the world.

One day a scholar will look back at how many ne concepts Bill contributed to marine conservation; it will be impressive. I have witnessed at close quarters how his mind works in achieving these things. Working with him always challenged and inspired.

Bill changed my life; it is that simple.

Vince Kerr

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