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2022 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.

2022 Programme

COVID-19 Unite image
How to join a ZOOM meeting option

1. The secretary will e-mail out the invitation to members with a link to join the meeting closer to the event.   Click on the link e-mailed to you in your internet browser.   Please contact the WBS secretary at Secretary WBS<> if you wish to have the zoom link.
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 ensure you have connected to the meeting well before 7.30pm, when the meeting proper begins.

Monday 21 February 2022:   Evening meeting – (via ZOOM only - see above for instructions) Rob Allen: To plant or not in forest restoration

Speaker:   Rob Allen, Independent Researcher, trained as a forester, then worked for the former NZ Forest Service.   After completing a PhD in Forest Ecology in USA he worked for Landcare Research on the ecology and management of indigenous forests.   After retiring in 2013, he became involved with restoration of forests at two sites in central North Island.   One of these involves, as a Trustee, establishing 600 ha of podocarp forest on an area with weed, herbivore and people challenges – leading to establishment costs for planting at >$25,000.00/ha.   As a result, the Trust is now forced to consider lower cost options.   This is a question of when to plant, or when to use or assist successions (at maybe $4,000.00/ha).   This is a question embedded in Leonard Cockayne’s writings 100 years ago, and central to this presentation.   It should be acknowledged that the greatest success in creating ‘new’ indigenous forests over the last century comes from natural successions rather than a long history of plantings.

Monday 21 March 2022:   Evening meeting – (via ZOOM only - see above for instructions) New research into NZ flaxes (harakeke and wharariki)

Speaker:   Lara Shepherd, Research Scientist, Te Papa.   Harakeke / New Zealand flax / Phormium tenax has had a long history of use as a fibre source in NZ, both by Maori and Pakeha.   I will give an overview of the biology of harakeke, as well as its past uses.   I will then discuss how new research is providing insights into the relationships of the wild populations of harakeke and wharariki / Phormium cookianum, as well as origins of surviving weaving cultivars.

Tuesday 19 April 2022:   Evening meeting – (via ZOOM only - see above for instructions) Is habitat enhancement a viable strategy for lizard conservation in NZ?   Results of a case study on Wellington’s coastal lizard communities

(NOTE this is the Tuesday after Easter Monday)
Speaker:   Sarah Herbert: Visiting Scholar, School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington.   Why are lizards abundant at some sites and not others?   What can we learn from this pattern for lizard conservation?   Recent research on lizard communities inhabiting Wellington’s coastal environment found that increasing coverage of rocks and certain indigenous plants benefitted populations of two common lizard species.   Furthermore, populations of these two species were demonstrated to co-exist with invasive mammals for up to 35-49 years without evidence of decline.   However, population declines were evident in several further lizard species at these sites.   Therefore habitat enhancement could be useful for conserving common lizards, but not for restoring lizard communities without predator control.

Monday 16 May 2022:   Evening meeting – Members’ evening

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.   For a gold-coin koha, or even ‘folding money’, buy one or more books we put on display to help build up the Jubilee Award Fund which is used to support research on NZ plants.   Bring any spare botanical or other natural-history books you have and don’t want any more to have them auctioned – to be taken home again if they don’t sell.   Plant specimens to sell, or to discuss, botanical art—paintings, drawings, ceramics, fabrics – would add to a memorable evening.

Monday 20 June 2022:   Evening meeting – Rekoihu - updating what we know of the flora and lichenised micobyota of the Misty Islands

(NOTE - This meeting will be IN PERSON and will now be held at Zealandia, 31 Waiapu Road, in Pateke the Visitors Centre room.   Access is by stairs or lift to the 2nd floor.   Signage and directions provided.   Free car parking by the Visitor Centre building.)

Speaker:   Professor Peter de Lange.   Since 1996 I have made regular visits to the Chatham Islands’ group, initially with the Department of Conservation (1996–2015), then as part of a Television Series and finally as a member of the Chatham Islands Conservation Board (2018–).   Our knowledge of the island group’s flora and lichenised mycobiota has improved considerably.   Several new endemic species of flowering plants and lichens have been described. The focus has shifted to the lesser known “flora”, especially lichens – which still remain very poorly known for the island group.   As the Tony Druce Memorial Lecturer in 2008, I reported on botanical research on the islands.   It is timely to update what I said then, with what we now know of the islands, their shifting conservation effort and to say what still needs doing there.   This is timely, as the pandemic has made the Chatham Islands the ‘Rarotonga’ of Aotearoa, with increased tourism that has both benefited and stretched the islands’ economy and environment.   Further the Moriori Deed of Settlement now formally acknowledges the islands’ indigenous people, and makes provision for their co-management of the islands’ reserves and biota.

Monday 18 July 2022:   Evening meeting – Seeds, Surveys & Sweet Finds — Working as a self-employed botanist in the lower North Island

(NOTE - This meeting will be IN PERSON back at our normal location at Victoria University.   And also available via ZOOM - see above for instructions and link emailed from on 15 July.)

Speaker:   Matt Ward, Owner/Operator of RESTORE, will explain what the eco-sourced seed-supply business entails, outline some projects he is involved in and share some botanical treasures he has found during his work.

Monday 15 August 2022:   Evening meeting – AGM and Tony Druce Memorial Lecture: Deer damaging Druce legacy in Hawke’s Bay

(NOTE - This meeting will be IN PERSON back at our normal location at Victoria University.   And also available via ZOOM - see above for instructions and link emailed from on 14 August, along with the AGM Agenda, Financial Report and previous AGM Minutes.)

Speaker:   Marie Taylor, Plant Hawke’s Bay Ltd, a wholesale revegetation nursery, Napier; board member, Nursery Industry Organisation NZ Plant Producers Inc; trustee, The Gwavas – Puahanui Charitable Trust Board caring for a 130 ha lowland podocarp forest remnant, Tikokino, Hawke’s Bay.   Marie will focus on the problems deer (and goats and other browsing animals) create in Hawke’s Bay.   Few fully functioning forests are improving in condition in Hawke’s Bay, unless deer-fenced.   Deer numbers have increased to catastrophic levels in most of Hawke’s Bay, impacting on long-established reserves, causing much damage to new plantings and threatening vegetation cover in the ranges.   Many bush remnants she worked in as a QEII National Trust rep in the 1990s and 2000s have plant lists created by BotSoccer Tony Druce, so we know what species were in the landscape in the recent past.   Effective conservation is now very expensive, not only to fence remnants, but also to remove the browsers afterwards.   Doing nothing is seriously hastening habitat loss.

Monday 19 September 2022:   Evening meeting – Small plants that are everywhere: mosses, liverworts and lichens

Speaker:   Leon Perrie, Botany curator at WELT herbarium, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa; fern specialist.   New Zealand is the world’s hotspot for liverworts, with over 600 species and a comparatively high number of isolated evolutionary lineages.   We’ve got lots of mosses and lichens too, with some 500 and 2000 species, respectively.   Because they are small, this rich diversity is easily overlooked and often not appreciated.   Nevertheless, mosses, liverworts and lichens are significant components of many ecosystems.   They can be important in succession, habitat provision, geochemical cycling and in hydrology.   This talk will introduce these three groups and outline how they differ from each other and from other plants.   We’ll also cover tips for spotting them in the field.

Monday 17 October 2022:   Evening meeting – Once in a lifetime: why is recruitment so rare in Canterbury braided river floodplains?

Speaker:   Debra Wotton, Director and Principal Ecologist, Moa’s Ark Research.   Braided riverbeds are globally rare ecosystems.   In New Zealand, they are under threat from habitat loss, water extraction, flood-control measures, pests and weeds, and are classified as Endangered.   These dynamic ecosystems are sparsely vegetated, but contain a surprising number of threatened plant species.   One of these is the Critically Endangered dry plains shrub daisy, Olearia adenocarpa, found only in Canterbury braided river floodplains.   O. adenocarpa is failing to recruit, as are many other native plants in dryland ecosystems.   Debra has been investigating the causes of this widespread recruitment failure.   She will present research on whether habitat manipulation can promote regeneration and population persistence in O. adenocarpa and two common plant species also failing to recruit, then discuss why recruitment is so rare in braided river floodplains.

Monday 21 November 2022:   Evening meeting – The vegetation and flora of the Catlins

Speaker:   Brian Rance, Technical Advisor - Flora/Ecology, Terrestrial Science Unit, DOC, based in Invercargill.   Brian will provide an overview of the Catlins flora, concentrating on the rare and the notable flora and will describe some recent discoveries.   He will cover the major vegetation types found and some of their special features and management needs.   He will also cover some of the sites we are likely to visit on Wellington BotSoc’s visit to the Catlins in January.


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