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Dr Roger Grace Memorial Fund

60825909 321267421880577 4649982171631583232 nDr Roger Grace 1945-2019

A memorial fund has been established and is administered by the Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust.

A special committee is under establishment to decide on the use of these funds, made up of a Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust representative, a member of the Grace family and other environmental organisations Roger has worked with. Queries to be directed to Samara Nicholas - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


 Proposals saught

The Dr Roger Grace Memorial fund is calling for proposals of a max value of $1000 towards creating a ‘no-take’ Marine Protected Area network or promoting Marine Protected Areas in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

 The Fund is interested in projects that:

- support new or existing proposals for no-take MPAs
- support science, research or monitoring of marine protected areas

Applicants should write a 1 page maximum document describing what they are doing and how their project contributes towards increasing the MPA network in Aotearoa. The application should include a brief financial breakdown detailing any funds or in-kind contributions already secured and how a grant from the Dr Roger Grace Memorial Fund will move the project forward.

We may contact you for further information regarding your project.

A reporting summary is required and the project must be completed within 12 months of receiving the funds.

Opening: 28th June 2021
Date due: 28th August 2021
Decision date: End of september
Projects to start after: Mid October
To be completed within a 12 month period

Applications to be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The priorities of the memorial fund are below:

  1. Long term crayfish monitoring at Tawharanui
  2. Marine conservation establishment projects (no take and long term)
  3. Memorial annual Whangateau Snorkel Day
  4. Triennial award for early career recipients for contributions to New Zealand marine conservation and communication, to support and give credence to their future work

Please note that Mountains to Sea Conservation is a registered charity (CC23406) and has fully audited accounts. All donations are tax deductable. The funding received for the Dr Roger Grace Memorial Fund has a separate bank account. The special committee will decide on the use of these funds based on the priorities above.

If you would like to help us to continue to make waves for Roger, please donate here.


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Special committee
Shelley and Vanessa Grace - Roger’s daughters
Katrina Goddard - Consultant
Nick Shears - Auckland University
Samara Nicholas and Lorna Doogan - Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust
Susi Thompson and Sally Richardson are advisors to the special committee.

Tawharanui Marine Reserve Crayfish Monitoring 2020
Funded by the Roger Grace Memorial Fund
By Benjamin Hanns
With support from the Roger Grace Memorial Fund, crayfish surveys were carried out at long-term monitoring sites inside and outside the Tawharanui Marine Reserve in June 2020. This marked the twentieth year of data collection since the permanent transects were established by Dr Roger Grace in 1977. Within the boundaries of the Tawharanui Marine Reserve five sites are located across the reserve’s longshore extent, covering a representative area of rocky reef habitat (Figure 1). In the neighbouring fished waters, non-protected rocky reef habitat is represented by five sites; one positioned at Pukenihinihi Point and four on the southern side of the Tawharanui Peninsula. Using the exceptionally detailed maps drawn by Roger, that illustrate each boulder and crevice, a team of divers recorded every red rock lobster (Jasus edwardsii) and packhorse lobster (Sagmariasus verreauxi) along each of the 50 x 10 m transects.
During the June 2020 surveys, a total of 77 legal and 18 sub-legal red lobsters were recorded on the reserve transects. This equated to an average of 15.4 (± 3.4 standard error) legal and 3.6 (± 2.2 standard error) sub-legal red lobster per transect in the reserve. A total of 20 sub-legal packhorse lobster were recorded at 2 of the five reserve transects. Outside the reserve, only 2 legal and 2 sub-legal red lobster were recorded. The 2 legal red lobster recorded outside the reserve are the first to be seen at that particular transect since 1980. A total of 33 sub-legal packhorse lobster were recorded at fished sites, but 30 of these were recorded in a single den at one of the fished sites. According to Roger, this den has always been a favourite and regular hideout for packhorse crayfish, but the number recorded in 2020 was higher than previously seen.
The long-term time series of red rock lobster shows declines in the number of legal and sublegal red lobster within the reserve since the mid to late 2000’s . These declines likely reflect broader declines in red rock lobster numbers within the Hauraki Gulf and suggest that although numbers within the reserve are substantially higher than outside the reserve, legal sized red lobster within the reserve may still be vulnerable to fishing extraction. Interestingly, the numbers of packhorse lobster (all sublegal) appears to have been increasing since the late 2000’s . Despite these increases, it is still extremely rare to see legal sized Packhorse lobster in this region.
The long-term data generated from continued monitoring of these transects is incredibly important in providing fisheries independent information on lobster abundances and how they are changing over time, both inside and outside marine reserves. It is concerning that populations in the reserve are diminishing and suggests the effectiveness of the Tawharanui Marine Reserve in terms of conserving lobster populations can be improved.

Volunteer story -  Patrick Smallhorn-West  had spent a summer with Roger when he was doing his undergraduate degree. Patrick has written a really moving piece about that time he spent with Roger.

 DHW7865 Edit Dean Wright

 DHW7747 Edit Dean Wright DHW7630 Dean Wright

Images by Dean Wright from of 2012 habitat survey around Waewaetorea/Okahu Islands. 

 Dr Roger Grace Memorial Fund Web Poster

 pdfDr_Roger_Grace_Memorial_Fund_Web_Poster_PDF.pdf11.19 MB














Stories and images

“A humble guy with immense talent” - Dave Moran
“This man was a true pioneer, generous to a fault, and always willing to teach and guide” - Paul Irving
“Your legacy is alive and well through the many you've touched and inspired. The future of our oceans the much better for your unrelenting passion!” - Peter Crabb


 A must read by Roger Grace on why we need no take zones 

Or watch Roger's talk on youtube Part 1 and Part 2

 A lovely tribute to Roger and his photographs in The Guardian 

If you would like to add your stories and images about Roger Grace please email Lorna on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we can continue to add to his legacy.

View the embedded image gallery online at:


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