Cherry was born in Christchurch in 1946. His parents were James Conrad Cherry and Mona Hartley, who had married in 1940. Cherry could trace his ancestry back to the Cressy, one of the First Four Ships that started the settlement of Canterbury.
Cherry specialised most recently in the effects of electromagnetic radiation on human health, following his earlier work in meteorology and wind energy. He was also a Councillor on the Canterbury Regional Council (Environment Canterbury), and was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2002 New Year Honours for service to science, education and the community. He was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2001 and became increasingly immobile until his death in 2003.
- Hunt, Dorothy (28 March 2003). "Neil Cherry ONZM - his life and work: Part 1". NZine. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
- Profile (archived on 10 August 2003)
- Life story (15 parts)               
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