Site Index
Meetings Page


BotSoc meetings are usually held at 7.30 pm on the third Monday of each month at Victoria University, Wellington, Lecturer Theatre M101, ground floor Murphy Building, west side of Kelburn Parade.   Enter building off Kelburn Parade about 20m below pedestrian overbridge.

Click here to find out how to get there by public transport

To Help raise funds for BotSoc’s Jubilee Award Fund members are encouraged to bring named seedlings/cuttings for sale at each evening meeting.

2014 Programme

Monday 17 February 2014:   What the new DOC means for conservation

Speaker:   Carol West, Manager, Terrestrial Ecosystems Unit, DOC, based in Wellington, will describe recent changes to the structure of the Department of Conservation, and how conservation will be achieved.

Monday 17 March:   Evening meeting – Nature Watch NZ

Speakers:   Colin Meurk, Senior Ecologist, Biodiversity and Conservation, Landcare Research, Faculty of Agriculture & Life Sciences, Lincoln University.   Colin will describe and demonstrate NatureWatch NZ, (, a free online interactive tool for engaging the public in natural history discovery.   This community and biodiversity web site, run by the NZ Bio-Recording Network Trust, can be used to share observations, including photos, of any species in NZ.

Also see Te Papa’s blog for some futher information about the upcoming talk and NatureWatch:

Monday 14 April:   Evening meeting – Can I eat that leaf – an insect’s approach to taxonomy

NOTE CHANGE OF DATE – not 3rd Monday.
Speaker:   Dr George Gibbs who has retired from a career of teaching entomology at Victoria University.   His interests have always been focused on understanding and promoting NZ’s indigenous biota, which includes more than a passing interest in plants.   Although concentrating on weta for many years, his main interest is moths and butterflies, and especially the historic biogeography of NZ’s biota – how the fauna and flora came to be here.

Monday 19 May:   Evening meeting – Members’ evening

Please share your botanical slides and photographs taken on BotSoc trips, your paintings, drawings and your botanical readings.   Slides limited to 20 per person.   Plant specimens would add to a memorable evening.   Please donate any spare botanical or other natural history books, so we can sell them for gold-coin donations to raise funds for our Jubilee Award Fund.

Monday 16 June:   Evening meeting – Plant-mycorrhizal interactions as foundational components of ecosystem structure and function

Speaker:   Julie Deslippe, School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University. Julie will describe plant-mycorrhizal networks and illustrate some of their important roles in ecosystems by drawing on her previous research in Arctic tundra.   NZ’s terrestrial ecosystems are under increasing pressure from several forces, including species invasions, land-use intensification, and climate change.   Julie will argue that plant-microbial interactions underpin NZ’s ecosystems as complex adaptive systems and consequently, that an understanding of these relationships will increase our ability to assess and manage the stability and resilience of terrestrial ecosystems now and in future.   Finally, Julie will outline a study of plant-mycorrhizal networks that aims to inform the restoration of a wetland ecosystem in the Wellington Region.

Monday 21 July:   Evening meeting – Eco-sourcing of plants: what, why, where and how

What is eco-sourcing?   Why has it developed as a concept?   Where might it apply?   How does one go about it?   To explore these questions, BotSoc will host a panel discussion involving members and invited guests.   If you’ve always wanted to know more about this topic, please come along to have your questions answered.   We’d like lots of audience participation.   Panel members:   Paula Warren, Stephen Hartley, Chris Horne, Leon Perrie. Chair: Carol West.

Monday 18 August:   Evening meeting – AGM;   Druce Memorial Lecture: The special plants and places of Otago

Speaker:   John Barkla, who is a Partnerships Ranger in DOC’s Coastal Otago District.   Before the latest restructuring he was the Otago Conservancy botanist.   Otago spans some the driest and wettest environments in NZ and has a corresponding rich diversity of plants.   Tony Druce undertook numerous trips to the ranges of Central Otago, making an enormous contribution to our botanical knowledge and understanding of those places.   John will highlight some of these remarkable places, their characteristic plants, and examine challenges to their continued survival.

Monday 15 September:   Evening meeting – Maori cultivation of NZ native plants

Speaker:   Lara Shepherd, Scientist, Te Papa, will talk about the native NZ plants grown by Maori and how they were used.   She will also discuss her own research using genetics to trace the pre-European translocation pathways of some of these species, including to the distant Kermadec and Chatham islands.

Monday 20 October:   Evening meeting – Our Natural Capital – the Biodiversity Action Plan review

Speaker:   Myfanwy Emeny, Team Leader, Urban Ecology, Parks, Sport & Recreation, WCC.   The Biodiversity Action Plan co-ordinates WCC’s biodiversity activities and identifies local priorities and actions to protect and restore biodiversity.   The 2007 plan is under review.   The reviewed plan will include a clear strategic direction for WCC, and give the public a clearer idea of the objectives of our restoration planting and community greening programmes.   This is a chance to get more information on the guiding principles, the key changes since 2007, and the objectives and actions of biodiversity activities within Wellington City for the next five years.

Monday 17 November:   Evening meeting – Exotic bees and native trees; Science Fair prize winner; and VUW tree research

Speaker:   Julia Stace and Ian Goodwin, members of BotSoc, will talk about their experiences as urban beekeepers in the suburbs of Wellington over the last two or three decades.

Speaker:   Sophie Russell, a year-8 pupil at Northland School, who won the 2014 Wellington Botanical Society Prize at NIWA’s Wellington Science and Technology Fair.   Sophie’s was the best exhibit of a project involving NZ native plants.   Her project compared the heat retention and rain-water runoff of three roofing types.   She was able to show that a “Green Roof” planted with Scleranthus, Acaena and small Festuca minimised rainwater run-off and kept a building cooler than one roofed with corrugated iron and one roofed with tiles. Her experiment showed that there was minimal difference in heat retention between these forms of roofing.   Several other exhibits were considered, all well-researched and well-presented.   Sophie’s project ticked all the boxes with her initial research, hypothesis, experimental method, and she provided a clear explanation and discussion.

Speaker:   Frances Forsyth, MSc student, School of Biological Sciences.   Frances, a member of BotSoc’s committee, is identifying and measuring all the more than 4,000 trees and shrubs on Victoria University’s campus.   She will present some early results of her research, some analysis, and a brief discussion of what this might mean for biodiversity values, resilience and opportunities for the management of the campus green spaces.


Please Email comments regarding this web page to webmaster (at)