The outdoors community has lost one of its most important kaumātua with the passing of Arnold Heine (1926-2019), QSM, ONZM. Heine, who died in October aged 93, earned widespread respect for his services to the community. He was widely respected as a tramper, conservationist, wilderness advocate, ski patroller, author, Antarctic explorer, mentor and engineer.
Born in Nelson, Heine grew up on a farm and as a teenager made his first forays to Mt Arthur with his older brothers. Even after moving to Wellington to work for the DSIR, he never lost his strong connection to Kahurangi and altogether spent over 250 days in the park, often on botanical explorations.
In Wellington, Heine became a stalwart of the Hutt Valley Tramping Club and with other members made significant exploratory trips to the West Coast, notably in the Wilberg Range and Poerua catchment during the 1950s. He also mentored the next generation, among them noted adventurers Graeme Dingle and Geoff Spearpoint.
Heine first went to the Antarctic in 1956, during the period when Scott Base was established. He quickly became a glacier expert. Altogether, he spent 17 seasons on the ice and earned a Polar Medal.
He served as secretary, vice-president, president and patron of Federated Mountain Clubs, and also edited the FMC Bulletin for 14 years, ably assisted by his wife Jan. Together they were also involved in countless conservation projects, including establishing MIRO, a pest control programme in Wellington’s East Harbour Regional Park.
Ngā mihi Arnold.