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Christchurch City Council media release

To: Chief reporter

From: Kristi Gray, Communications team

Date: 15 December 2006

Christchurch City Council media release

Joint venture for appointment of new curator for the Botanic Gardens announced


The University of Canterbury, the College of Science and the Christchurch City Council are teaming up to create the new post of Curator of the Christchurch Botanical Gardens and Professor of Plant Sciences.

Council Transport and Greenspace Unit Manger Michael Aitken says the joint appointment had benefits for everyone.

“It is extremely exciting for the city to bring together the expertise inherent in a professorship with the vision and direction to take the Botanic Gardens forward,’ he says.

“By having this as a joint appointment we believe it will be a highly sought-after position on the international market. It is a great step forward and will attract the highest calibre of applicants.’’

Previous curators of the Gardens had university links and this appointment will reinforce the aspect of the Botanic Gardens Management Plan to strengthen educational and research links, he says.

“This will bring the Gardens back to their former status internationally,’’ Mr Aitken says. “The proposed new staff and visitor facilities currently being discussed will help us meet this goal.’’

Mayor Garry Moore says Council had been looking at raising the level of science and research in the Gardens for some time.

“We are delighted to be working with the University to together raise the standard of research to return the Gardens to their former standards. Earlier curators were professors interested in the science of the Gardens and we are delighted to see this continue.’’

Professor Ian Shaw Pro-Vice-Chancellor says "This is part of our drive for the Council and University to work more closely together and in this case to bring a research focus to the Botanical Gardens so that we can better utilise the City's superb collection of plants to further our knowledge and understanding of plant science."

Recruitment for the new position will start early in the new year.

Ends

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