18 Jun 2013

Conservationist John Kendrick dies

9:41 pm on 18 June 2013

John Kendrick, the conservationist, film-maker and sound recordist who initiated and recorded the Morning Report bird calls on Radio New Zealand National, has died. He was 91.

Mr Kendrick spent 20 years filming and recording wildlife throughout New Zealand while working for the Wildlife Service.

He began donating recordings to Radio New Zealand in the late 1960s when he became irritated with what he described as "the monotonous squawk" heard regularly on the airwaves and decided to supply more pleasing birdcalls.

"The director of national programmes of the day was a little bit hesitant, but I felt it was a good idea to share these recordings with the general public of New Zealand.

"So I said, 'Well, give it a go'. They put them on and they got a good reaction from the public apparently and it's just kept on going all these years."

His favourite call was the kokako "because of it's sort of mystic, wonderful echoing organ-like notes."

In 2010, Mr Kendrick was awarded the Queen's Service Medal for services to wildlife.