Sir Charles Fleming has been described as 'probably New Zealand's most famous and influential biologist', and was highly regarded as a geologist, zoologist, paleontologist and biogeographer. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1967, following a notable presidency of the Royal Society of New Zealand, and was knighted for services to science and conservation. It was in the conservation movement that Fleming had his largest following. He was actively involved in the Save Manapouri Campaign in the early 1970s and later was a keynote speaker in well-attended public meetings throughout New Zealand organised by the Native Forests Action Council and the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society during campaigns to save various native forests in the 1970s and 1980s. Undeterred by a life-threatening coronary thrombosis in his mid-fifties, he continued to devote himself to the battle for the forests until he died suddenly aged seventy-one, at the height of his influence.