A retired secondary school teacher, John Staniland has been closely involved with Forest & Bird for 50 years and was the first chairman of its Waitākere Branch. He is a founder and honorary ranger of the Society’s 120-hectare Matuku Reserve, which is adjacent to Matuku Link. He organised the purchase of several blocks of forest to bring the Forest & Bird reserve to its present size and has been looking after it ever since the first block was bought in 1979. He has a good knowledge of the vegetation of this area and its bird life and is particularly interested in New Zealand’s different forest types and in educating people about them. John is also active in the Ornithological Society and A Rocha NZ (Christians in Conservation).

An inaugural trustee at Matuku Reserve Trust and an educator at heart, he has contributed since 2016 to the knowledge of people young and old by giving guided tours, growing rare native plants in the nursery and overseeing many volunteer activities as well as doing the manual work of mowing, spraying and planting.