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9 April 1947 – 23 August 2020

As a child, in St Helens, Morgan had his own natural history museum, in the garden shed.  His friend Harry Friar remembers “The museum would always have a centerpiece as the main attraction: a sparrow’s skull; an owl pallet; cow horns.

“His dad used to bring them [the cow horns] home and we would leave them in the garden until there was only a shell left.   We would walk around with them over our shoulder tied with a piece of string.  We must have been bubonic plague carriers, they didn’t half smell.”

His house on the Kapiti Coast was full of reconstructed skeletons, and his garden was full of buried skeletons.  Different country / same habits!

He was recruited to NZ, as a wallpaper designer, around 1980.   He impressed John Callwood, of Ashley Wallpapers, with his design experience, his phenomenal charm, and (most importantly) his love of Folk Music.

Sasana. L-R John, Morgan, Pete.

Their band Sasana played at the launch of Cloak of Protection, at the Mahara Gallery, 21 Jan, 2012.

I’d gone to find him after seeing an exhibition of his illustrations at the Paraparaumu Library.  His airbrush work was magical.  Whether he was illustrating wildlife or whether he was illustrating fantasy, he knew these creatures from the inside out . . .

. . .what I did not know, but was to learn, was that Morgan only ever did one thing or the other.

In all aspects of his life, Morgan was a contrary combination of opposites – as if he viewed life through slits in opposing walls.

He would take a position to view through one slit, on a mission to illustrate and/or defend this spot to the death. Then he would cross to an opposite wall and take a sighting through its slit.

When I asked him to do both (wildlife and fantasy) on the same project, he was excited (he loved sets), but he was also flummoxed.  He had no way to see through both window slits at once!?

Given time, Morgan eventually worked out a way. . .it was to be one of his proudest achievements.  He was (as Harry says) ‘a talented git’.

75 air-brush illustrations.  This was his BIG completed project.  It was the piece of work which he declared himself most proud.  He had made his mark!

The game has been so successful, that earlier this year we meet to discuss a new edition.

Whither he goes, through which-ever slit through which he watches the world, and where-ever he sits, may his glass always be full, and may his elbow always find a place to lean.


His beloved Liverpool, won the EPL title, for the first time, this year.  He rests a happy man.


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this Feedback

on Cloak of Protection has just come through. It’s wow! Also it lists the very useful ways to use the game in the classroom, for which I’m very grateful . . .

Quite frankly Cloak of Protection is one of the best educational games I have come across (and I and my family are all into board and card games so we have tried a lot).

Not only is the game play enjoyable (some luck, some strategy and negotiation), but I really appreciate the quality of the artwork, and the scope of the learning that takes place. 

Before even playing the game:

  • We can examine the cards one realm at a time, and with the information on the predators we can see that some predators are a problem in some areas/habitats, and the damage they can do/have done
  • We can discuss how and why birds became extinct and it motivates us to help prevent more birds being exposed to predators 
  • We can learn to identify and classify birds by their habitats and have interesting discussions about their physical features and how they might have adaptations to help them in their habitat
  • We can see the diversity and appreciate it, learn to do backyard surveys etc

Then we get to play, and the game is fun and engaging (and challenging when we are hit hard by predators, kids are building resilience skills too when they hit a big setback!). 

I have a multi-age classroom and students have played this from 6-12 years of age (the five year olds, and some six year olds can play, they just may be a little less savvy in negotiations, although there are others willing to support!).  

Although I have this as a learning game, it is on our shelf and available during wet lunch times and is a highly prized option. 

Helen. Primary Teacher and Science Leader

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Cloak of Protection
Cloak of Protection
have come upon us! While we’re at Level 3, I can send you games, but I’ve no idea how long courier delivery will take. But should be within a week.

So, now there’s free delivery with your order.

I’ll send from my rural delivery postbox (to save on travel), and will (as always) let you know the tracking number, as well as following it myself.

Best we can do. ngā mihi. JiL

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Urban Hut Club

ōtaki hut
selfie outside ōtaki hut
As part of the New Zealand Festival of the Arts, we’ve got Urban Huts on the Kapiti Coast. Huts for one!
At the ōtaki hut, I crawled inside and sat on a stool to read a story by Renee. Outside waves sloshed onto the sand, and I deep breathed the smell of salt. Seagulls called, and I remembered the great flock of terns I’d seen on our beach the day before.
The huts are here to stay (so I was told by a woman I meet at the Kaitawa / Paraparaumu Hut yesterday, who’d heard it on the radio).
For an enchanted adventure, full directions and map to all 5 huts

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a tide of tui

Cloak of Protection. FOREST
are spilling over the predator proof fence at Maungatautari Ecosanctuary, according to an article just published in Notornis – the research journal of BirdsNZ.

The study was carried out by Neil Fitzgerald, John Innes (SCIENCE ADVISOR, CLOAK of PROTECTION) and Norman Mason from Manaaki Whenua/Landcare Research.

Construction of a 47 km pest-resistant fence encircling 3,240 hectare of the forest was completed in August 2006 and eradication of all pest mammals except house mice commenced in November 2006.

“This created the largest area of virtually pest-free forest on the New Zealand mainland.

“Congregations of 100 or more tūī were reported 6 times. Such exceptional congregations of tūī have not been previously reported in Waikato.

“The increased presence of tūī in the wider landscape will help restore indigenous dominance in ecosystem processes such as pollination and seed dispersal.”

In Cloak of Protection, tūī live in the forest realm, but this movement shows that they could just as easily be settlement birds!

In Flight of Pollen, tūī are necessary pollinators and seed dispersers

from the article, Tūī spill out from Maungatautari, Predator Free NZ, blogpost

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Playing Flight of Pollen on the Court

In Term 3, we played the outdoor version of Flight of Pollen, on the court, at St Anne’s School, Manurewa.
Pollinators collected pollen and transported it to hula-hoop flowers; pollen crawled through one hoop, then another, to the base of the flower; ripening time was spent playing touch-tag; and then pollinators became berry eaters and seed blowers. The winning team, DAY / NIGHT, collected the most seeds & berries.
From there we went indoors, and played a truncated boardgame. Which game was best – indoor or outdoor? Opinion among the students was roughly divided in half.
Both versions were ‘nearly’ as good as Cloak of Protection. Which was high praise indeed – they’re mad about my first game, and play it at every opportunity!!

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one find of moa poo

Stout legged moa
found in a cave in Nelson is thought to be 8000 years old.

In Flight of Pollen, fresh native pollen is carried from plant-to-plant. But in new research, it’s evidence of which plants were eaten, way back thousands of years ago!

Scientists analysed the pollen in fossilised moa poo and in fresh deer poo, from Daley’s Flat, Dart River Valley, West Otago.

It’s thought four species of moa lived where the samples were found, three of which can be found in Cloak of Protection: the bush moa; the heavy-footed moa – described as a “40-gallon drum walking on toddler’s gumboots”; the upland moa; and the South Island giant moa.

The pollen, thousands of years old, and still remaining in the dried poo, indicates that each of these species grazed on different plant types within the area.

The pollen also shows that plants that were present when moa roamed the country are now pretty much absent – due to the introduction of deer.

Deer are not like moa. Research by Jamie Wood and Janet Wilmshurst, Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research

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Small things matter

Ti kouka / cabbage tree
and small things tend to get overlooked. Insects, spiders, and crustaceans get very little attention, yet they make up half of the world’s animal biomass

Insects are part of the web of life. They feed birds and fish and small creatures, and they pollinate our forests and our food.

Small things, miss them when they’re gone. . .

. . . due to farming and cities; pesticides and fertilizers; and invasive species.

It’s us. Which means we can do something. Start by planting a garden. Start by looking after soil health. And there they’ll be.

In Flight of Pollen ti kouka / cabbage tree (shown) is pollinated by hoverfly, native bee, honey bee, moth, gecko, bat, koromiko, and tui. They’ll all come quickly for its feast of nectar!

for more details go to:Truthout