Plaque honours environmental hero

Fred Inder's sons Terry (left) and Garry, wife Alva Inder and daughter Viv Tamblyn unveiled a memorial plaque at Mararoa Weir, near Lake Manapouri, last week.
Alva Inder unveiled the memorial plaque dedicated to her husband Fred at Mararoa Weir last week.

FRED Inder earned himself many titles in his life.

Although the Te Anau fisherman, conservationist, community advocate and family man died on the first day of lockdown last year, his work on the Manapouri Lake Control Fish Pass was recognised last week.

Family members from near and not-so-near, gathered at the Mararoa Weir site, near Lake Manapouri, last Tuesday, where his wife of 68 years unveiled a memorial plaque.

Alva Inder farewelled her husband at a time when Covid-19 restrictions made it hard, but she said being with family now helped.

“I’d never have survived without my family.”

It was an honour to have gathered at the place where her husband had spent many hours working. Mr Inder was involved in the design and commissioning of the fish pass in the late 1990s and also contributed to the redesign of the structure, which was recently completed.

He managed the passage from the time it was installed until his health stopped him from being able to a few years ago.

Meridian Energy environment manager Andrew Feierabend said the structure consisted of four gates and controlled the flow from lakes Te Anau and Manapouri.

Reflecting on Mr Inder’s character, he said he was a true Southlander.

He was a keen fisherman and a keen environmentalist.

“He was a great person.”

Mr Feierabend said the unveiling was a great opportunity to acknowledge the value Mr Inder brought to the environment he was so passionate about.

Mr Inder worked for Meridian Energy for more than 20 years, looking after water quality and the fish pass on the Lower Waiau River.

The fish pass allowed species such as trout and salmonids to travel up and down the river.

Beyond his work at the lake control, he was a long-standing Southland Fish & Game councillor, a Waiau Fisheries and Habitat Trust trustee, a Lakes Manapouri Te Anau and Monowai Lakes guardian and a member of the Waiau Working Party.

His daughter, Viv Tamblyn, said her father had a deep commitment to the environment and Te Anau community.

“[He] worked countless voluntary hours, over nearly 30 years, in his determination to make a difference.

“He was a man we all loved and respected and were proud to call dad. We miss him.”