Newspaper Article 2005 – Years of work went into book

Years of work went into book


A man who meticulously documented the ancient forested landscapes of Hawke’s Bay has died.

Patrick John Grant was four days short of his 82nd birthday when he died in Havelock North on October 12.

Dr Grant was best known for his study of the natural history of Hawke’s Bay “Hawke’s Bay Forests of Yesterday.”

The book was a culmination of 40 years of work as a scientist and hydrologist in Hawke’s Bay.

In it he tried to put into perspective the relative impacts of natural forces such as climate, erosion, winds and fire on the forests and landscapes on Hawke’s Bay.

He concluded natural catastrophes such as gale winds, fires caused by lightning and erosion were the main agents of change.

This was in contrast to the prevailing theories that early Maori burned the bush.

Dr Grant was born in Auckland on October 16, 1923, and attended Monte Cecilia School and Sacred Heart College.

When he left school at the end of 1939 he trained as a map maker before joining the RNZAF in 1942.

When he returned to the country in 1945 he joined the New Zealand Forest Service as a technical trainee. Working in the Urewera and South Westland forests in this time gave him his lifelong interest in the history of forests.

In 1963 he published “Forests and recent climatic history of the Huiarau range.”

This work for the first time suggested past catastrophic storm damage as being responsible for changes.

His love of the bush was reflected in his interest in tramping. In 1950 he married Joan O’Connor, of Hastings.

In 1952 he trained as a teacher, but in 1954 he joined the then-Hawke’s Bay Catchment Board as a hydrologist.

Dr Grant’s wife died in 1978.

He is survived by two sons, two daughters and six grandchildren.

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Newspaper article

Date published

31 December 2005


Hawke’s Bay Today


Published with permission of Hawke's Bay Today


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