Botanists honoured for role in understanding
New Zealand plants
Two botanists who specialise in rare and endangered native plants have been awarded top honours in their field by their peers.
The New Zealand Botanical Society has awarded the Allan Mere to Peter de Lange, Threatened Plant Scientist with the Department of Conservation in Auckland and Vice President of the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. Meanwhile, the NZPCN has given its Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr Brian Molloy, Research Associate, Landcare Research.
The Allan Mere is awarded yearly by the New Zealand Botanical Society to outstanding botanists to acknowledge their contribution. The mere, carved from pounamu, is displayed at the entrance to the Allan Herbarium at Landcare Research, Lincoln. It commemorates the achievements of early New Zealand botanist H.H. Allan.
Landcare Research botanist Dr Peter Heenan says in his relatively short botanical career Mr de Lange has made important contributions to New Zealand botany through peer-reviewed scientific papers, popular articles, lecturing, plant collections and mentoring of younger botanists. He has given strong leadership to plant conservation in his role with DOC, providing vision, strategy and pragmatic solutions to conservation problems. Colleagues have described his knowledge as “encyclopaedic”, and say that is difficult to read any recent publications on New Zealand vascular botany where Mr de Lange is not an author or co-author, or cited or thanked in the text.
The Lifetime Achievement Award recognises top quality service to the cause of New Zealand indigenous plant conservation. Brian Molloy is regarded as a leading figure in the New Zealand threatened plants movement. Dr Molloy has an unequalled track record of plant conservation work through his roles in the Queen Elizabeth II Trust. It was his original idea to set up conservation covenants with a specific threatened plant or plant community focus, and he also assisted establishing many of these.
Like Peter de Lange, Dr Molloy has played an enduring role as a mentor to younger botanists.