John Lawrance Nicholls MNZM BSc (NZ) 1920-2010 Shy Forester and Champion Wordsmith

Authors: Mark Smale
Publication: New Zealand Journal of Forestry, Volume N.Z.J.For. 2010, Issue N.Z.J.For. 55(3) 2010, pp 30-31, Nov 2010
Publisher: New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Abstract: The passing of John Nicholls in Rotorua on 19 August 2010 marks the end of an era in New Zealand forestry. John was intimately involved in the National Forest Survey of 1946-1955 and oversaw the subsequent Ecological Survey (1960-1967) that filled gaps in the original survey. These were monumental undertakings that surveyed the remaining indigenous forests, primarily to assess native timber volumes but also to better understand forest pattern across the country. John was born and grew up in the small Waikato spa town of Te Aroha. His father was a lawyer, and it seems likely that he inherited his capacity for systematic thought from him. After the untimely death of his mother, he was sent to board at Mt Albert Grammar School in Auckland where Robert Muldoon was a classmate. A career in journalism beginning with proof-reading at the New Zealand Herald offices in Auckland and foreshadowing a lifelong love of the written word was interrupted by the Second World War and five years of active service with the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy. That period, shadowing shipping from the air in the Mediterranean and North Atlantic, was described by him as “the adventure of a lifetime”.
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