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Outstanding contribution award for river expert

Outstanding contribution award for Mid-Canterbury braided river expert

A well-know Mid-Canterbury braided river expert today received an Outstanding Contribution Award from Environment Canterbury. Ashburton’s Matthew Hall received the award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the management of Canterbury’s land and water resources.

Mr Hall has given a life time of service to the waters and the ecology of the braided river systems throughout Mid and South Canterbury. He has been actively involved in the Fish and Game Council and a founding member of the “Save the Rivers Campaign in Mid and South Canterbury.

In receiving the award Mr Hall said: “Every movement of the river for me has a meaning. I understand its secrets. I am a part of it. It is a part of me.”

Matthew hall

In recognition of the outstanding contribution Matthew Hall has made to the management of Canterbury’s land and water resources in Canterbury.

Matthew Hall has given a life time of service to the waters and the ecology of the braided river systems throughout Mid and South Canterbury.

A keen fisherman and ecological observer, he took what was a passing interest of a young man in matters of the environment to a life commitment and passion in which he has been recognised by his peers and the judiciary alike.

His association with the braided river systems and pelagic fisheries started at a young age. As a kid catching herring at the Rangitata mouth he became a legend in his own time, achieving the nick name of the ‘Herring King’.

An active and passionate fish and game licence holder Matthew has always had strong views. As a result it was only a matter of time before he was elected to the Ashburton Acclimatisation Society, serving as an office holder from1985 to 1989.

With the demise of Acclimatisation Societies in 1989 Matthew took up the challenge and continued his involvement with Central South Island Fish and Game.
Matthew was the inaugural chairman of the transitional body, seeing the changes through from local societies to a regional body.

He was elected Chair of the fledging Central South Island Fish and Game Council, and then served variously as Chair from 1990 through to 1994 during the early years of the council.

Part of Matthew’s commitment to the management and support of the fisheries and the braided river ecosystem was right at the front-line, as an appointed Warranted Officer for Freshwater Fisheries. Originally warranted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Matthew continues to hold a Fish and Game warrant to this day.

Matthew was delegate to the South Island Salmon Committee from 1984 through to 1987 and an active participant in the Salmon Symposium of this time. He also actively served as an organiser for the ‘onboard’ observer in the Salmon By-catch monitoring program.

For 20 or more years Matthew has been a faithful student in the study of the braided river systems of mid and south Canterbury. His intimate knowledge and understanding of these rivers and their ecology has no equal in any of the Rakaia, Rangitata and Ashburton Catchments.

It was in this field of work with ‘Save the River’s campaign’ that Matthew’s expertise and accumulated knowledge came to the public eye. Not only did he give evidence in his own right at the hearings, he was also asked to give independent expert evidence to the presiding Judge at the successful Rakaia River Conservation Order Hearing.

Several years later he did the same in relation to the Rangitata Conservation Order, while continuing as a submitter in his own right and an expert witness for the ‘in-stream user group evidence’.

As one of the founding members of ‘Save the Rivers Campaign’ in Mid and South Canterbury, Matthew also had a wider involvement in the community as a hut holder and office holder of the South Rangitata River Hut Holders Association.

From meagre beginnings as the ‘Herring King’, Matthew went on to become a legend amongst his peers in the art of salmon and trout fishing, as well as a renowned whitebaiter.

As a private person and dedicated family man, the true extent of Matthew’s contribution did not become fully apparent until the submission period of the Conservation Order process on the Rakaia River.

His understanding was an example to all who heard him during those early battles - as one that was not just passionate about a braded river but also understood how the rivers lived, their natural cycles and the life that flourishes within.

Through this contribution, Matthew Hall has contributed to a richer and more diverse Canterbury environment. Today we recognise this service.


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