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Colin Meurk

Research Associate
Landscape Policy and Governance
Colin Meurk
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Research interests

Dr Colin Meurk ONZM is the founding Chair of the New Zealand Biodiversity Recording Network (NZBRN) and continues to serve in this role. 

From 1985 to 2015, he worked as a landscape ecologist for Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, where he was pivotal in projects like the ‘Greening Waipara’ initiative and the design of landscape models used in catchment-scale restoration plans across Aotearoa New Zealand. From 2015, he became a Research Associate at Manaaki Whenua.

He was instrumental in securing reserve status for Travis Wetland in Christchurch and has been President of the Travis Wetland Trust since 1999.

He holds adjunct positions at Canterbury and Lincoln Universities.

Colin has actively contributed to various environmentally based committees for the Ōtākaro (Avon River) and Ōpāwaho (Heathcote River) restoration projects. He conceived the Christchurch 360 Trail, the first Urban Great Walk, and serves on several trusts and councils, including the Otamahua-Quail Island Restoration Trust and the Environment Canterbury Biosecurity Advisory Group.

His research interests encompass biogeography, ecological restoration and design, landscape dynamics, urban ecology, conservation biology, and citizen science. He has developed tools and booklets for indigenous restoration and landscaping across Aotearoa. Colin has also been involved in high country and offshore island projects, notably the subantarctic Campbell Island.

Colin  has received numerous awards, including the Christchurch Civic Award, Loder Cup, Ecology in Action Award, Golden Foot Award, and an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM), recognizing his outstanding contributions to conservation. He founded the Centre for Creative Transitions to Sustainable Futures and continues to teach and supervise postgraduate students, promoting ecological literacy and sustainable futures.

Nationally and internationally regarded, Colin has dedicated his career to the conservation of New Zealand’s indigenous flora and fauna, ensuring their appreciation and relevance in both urban and rural settings. His work has left a lasting impact on cultural landscape planning, community restoration projects, and ecological advocacy throughout New Zealand.