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2020 Meetings

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.

Non-members are welcome to come to our evening meetings.

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.

2020 Programme

Monday 17 February 2020:   Evening meeting – Kowhai – NZ’s unofficial national flower

Speaker:   Lara Shepherd, Research Scientist, Te Papa Tongarewa. Kowhai (Sophora spp.) are some of our most distinctive trees.   Lara will talk about where to find them and how to distinguish the eight NZ species of kowhai.   She will also talk about why Charles Darwin was interested in kowhai and what 200-year-old herbarium specimens of kowhai are revealing about the history of kowhai cultivation.

Monday 16 March:   Evening meeting – Rust never sleeps: an introduction to Forest Pathology

Speaker:   Stuart Fraser, Forest Pathologist, Scion, Rotorua.   Stuart has experience in identifying and managing fungal pathogens in NZ and overseas.   His talk will introduce the fundamentals of Forest Pathology, using two NZ case studies: myrtle rust and kauri dieback.   It talk will also cover native forest pathogens of interest, such as Armillaria (honey fungus / te harore), and future threats, such as rapid ‘Ohi’a death.

COVID-19 Unite image
At this time, while NZ is at COVID-19 alert level 2, 3 and 4, further face-to-face meetings and field trips are cancelled until further notice.   BUT instead speakers will give their talks at 7.30 p.m. on the Mondays planned using ZOOM.   Follow instructions below.

How to join a ZOOM meeting

1. The secretary will e-mail out the invitation with a link to join the meeting closer to the event.   Click on the link e-mailed to you in your internet browser.
2. Follow the prompt to Download the ZOOM app. which should take you automatically to the meeting.
Please note:
•   When you join the meeting, your microphone will be automatically muted.   This is so no one accidentally interrupts the speaker.   If you’re not speaking, please keep your microphone muted, so accidental background noise and playback doesn’t disrupt the meeting.
•   You can turn the video on if you like or leave it off.

On the meeting night – Please join the meeting early at 7.10 p.m. so that we are ready by 7.30 p.m. when the meeting will start with Jon’s introduction to our speaker, Debra Wotton.

The Zoom meeting will open at 7pm.   Please ensure you have connected to the meeting well before 7.30pm, when the meeting proper begins.

You can also join a ZOOM meeting via Apple and Android devices.

Monday 20 April:   Evening meeting (via ZOOM) – Why is Hebe armstrongii rare?

Speaker:   Dr Debra Wootton, Director & Principal Ecologist, Moa’s Ark Research. Debra has been investigating the causes of recruitment failure in the only protected population of the Nationally Endangered Hebe armstrongii.   She will present her research on what limits seedling establishment, and discuss causes of rarity in the species and its conservation management.

Monday 18 May:   Evening meeting – Members’ evening (cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions)

Please share your botanical slides and photographs taken on BotSoc trips, your paintings, drawings and your favourite botanical readings.   Slides, on a USB stick, limited to 20 per person.   Hugh Wilson’s film Fools and Dreamers will be shown for those who missed it and for those who want to enjoy it again.   For a gold-coin koha, or even ‘folding money’, buy one or more books we put on display, and help build up the Jubilee Award Fund which is used to support research on NZ plants.   Plant specimens to sell, or to discuss, would add to a memorable evening.

Monday 22 June:   Evening meeting – What’s happening in weed bio-control in the Wellington region.   NOTE this is not the 3rd Monday.   (This was a physical meeting also with ZOOM access)

Speaker:   Mark Alpine et al, Biosecurity Advisors, Greater Wellington Regional Council, will describe where bio-control of pest plant is at in our region, discuss the agents they use and the ones they are seeking to get released in NZ.

Monday 20 July:   Evening meeting – Nurturing Percy Scenic Reserve’s botanical potential   (This was a physical meeting also with ZOOM access)

Speakers:   Cliff Keilty (Downer), John van den Hoeven (Downer) and Jonathan Frericks (Hutt City Council) will deliver a three-part presentation about various aspects of looking after the extensive ex-situ conservation plant collection from alpine areas, offshore islands and coastal areas, and the Tony Druce collection.   The topics covered will include: propagation and cultivation; collecting and expanding the collection; and maintaining data about the collection.

Monday 17 August:   Evening meeting – Annual General Meeting   (Please NOTE changes to this meeting as below due to COVID-19)

Due to the Wellington region moving to Alert Level 2, the committee has decided the Wellington Botanical Society AGM scheduled for Monday 17 August will be via ZOOM only.   There will be no physical meeting.

We do not feel we can host the meeting at the university within the Level 2 guidelines, i.e. maintaining social distancing between those attending.   While there is a small chance that we will be back at Level 1 by Monday, we thought for the sake of certainty, we should make the call now.

Unfortunately, the move to Level 2 has also meant the Tony Druce Memorial Lecture, which normally coincides with the AGM, has been postponed to September.   The Lecture this year is “Relationships and the battle to save the Raukumara Range” by Graeme Atkins.

AGM Details:
The AGM will start at 7.30pm.   The Zoom meeting will be open for people to check their connection and set up is working from 7pm.
Join the Zoom Meeting via the link below:
Meeting ID: 847 0198 5765

Please email Secretary Kate Jordon, kateljordan (at), if you have any questions about the AGM meeting or ZOOM access.

The following AGM documents are available for downloading: 2020 Treasurers Report, 2020 audited accounts, 2020 Performance Report Draft.

Monday 21 September:   Evening meeting – Tony Druce Memorial Lecture “Relationships and the battle to save the Raukumara Range”

Please NOTE.   This meeting will be held IN PERSON and will also be ZOOMED.   Following the Covid-19 rules for Event Facilities at Level 2 there will be a limit of 100 people permitted to attend.   People will be able to sit next to each other because they will have to wear a face mask.   This a requirement for entry so please bring your own masks.   To join the meeting via Zoom please see the instructions above.

Speaker:   Graeme Atkins: DOC Biodiversity Ranger, East Cape / Ruatoria.   His talk will be about relationships.   A relationship was lost between our Raukumara and the tangata whenua who have lived in and around their forest for centuries.   Their reliance, to use contemporary terminology, on the many services provided, has diminished considerably, when compared with former times.   Pharmacy, supermarket, clothing store, hardware store, timber mill, cultural needs and the arts, all were once sourced from their Raukumara.   That connection has been lost.   They now find the present situation where the degradation of their Raukumara has occurred because of too many introduced animals.   Because of this disconnect, no one had witnessed the damage, caused mainly by red deer and possums.   Relationships feature again in the battle to turn things around for our Raukumara.   Attend the talk to find out more.

Monday 19 October:   Evening meeting – Two Parts

A. Award winners’ presentations

A1. Miro Kennett   (NIWA Science Award): “The conditions podocarps thrive in at Makara Peak”. A science-fair project to assess the conditions that miro, matai, rimu, totara and kahikatea were found in (e.g., amount of shelter, soil moisture, exposure to light) and the test results to see if these factors affected the saplings’ size.
A2. Tom Dawes   (Tom Moss Award & BotSoc Student Grant): “The Ecology of Epiphyte Communities in Beech Forests”.   Epiphyte communities in NZ’s beech forests are dominated by non-vascular epiphytes–mosses, liverworts and lichens.   I will discuss how the epiphyte community differs between different host beech species in Nelson Lakes National Park.   I will also assess whether the epiphyte communities at our site show a ’mid-elevational richness peak’ – a phenomenon demonstrated in epiphyte communities / taxa in other parts of the world.
A3. Christopher Cornwall   (Jubilee Award): “Impacts of ocean acidification, warming and marine heat-waves on NZ kelp forest ecosystems”.   I will discuss the detrimental impacts of ocean acidification on Wellington’s seaweed species, how ocean warming and associated marine heat-waves impact them and what implications these two aspects of climate change may have on the future functioning of Wellington’s iconic kelp-forest ecosystems.

B. Screening of Fools and Dreamers – Regenerating a Native Forest
The story of the work of Hugh Wilson and others at Hinewai Reserve, Banks Peninsula.   This movie will be downloaded from YouTube:

Monday 16 November:   Evening meeting – Two Parts

A. Extraordinary Meeting

Called to propose several amendments to the Rules of the Wellington Botanical Society.

B. Almost an island – the remarkable flora and habitats of Banks Peninsula
Speaker:   Melissa Hutchinson, Ecologist, Christchurch.   Banks Peninsula comprises c. 100,000 ha of volcanic hill country, rising to a height of 920 m above sea level at its highest point (Mt Herbert-Te Ahu Pātiki).   The vegetation pattern is influenced by varied altitudinal and climatic gradients, which have contributed to a unique and diverse indigenous flora (>550 vascular plant species and >200 lichen species), including several endemic species.   Before human arrival in New Zealand, the peninsula was largely covered in indigenous forest.   This was rapidly cleared following European colonisation and by 1920 was reduced to relatively small, isolated fragments, mainly on steep slopes at higher altitudes.   Indigenous woody vegetation cover has increased in recent years through natural succession, with primary forest, secondary growth forest and shrubland now covering c. 15% of the Peninsula.

More than 2200 ha of land is protected in DOC and Christchurch City Council reserves, with a further 1500 ha on private land protected through conservation covenants (>120 covenants).   The vegetation and flora of the peninsula has been well-documented by legendary botanist Hugh Wilson, but recent ecological surveys show that there are still exciting botanical and lichenological discoveries waiting discovery!


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