Dr Keith Hammett

Team Profile

Dr K.R.W. Hammett is a private professional plant breeder based in Auckland.

He has developed the grounds of his 4 ha property as an arboretum and the site of numerous plant breeding programmes (including Amaryllis, Arthropodium, carnations, Chrysanthemum, Clivia, Cosmos, dahlias, Dianthus, Helianthus, Lathyrus, Mimulus, Nemesia, Petunia, Polyanthus, Sandersonia, and Zantedeschia).

To date more than 300 fully commercial cultivars have been produced. Many of these have been exhibited and marketed overseas. He has close working relationships the Auckland Regional Botanic Garden, the University of Auckland, Unitec Institute of Technology, and other Research Institutes.

Keith has written numerous articles for horticultural publications worldwide, authored books and produced scientific papers.


  • PhD Southampton. Plant Pathology (1963–66)
  • BSc (Hons) Southampton. Botany (1960–63)

Associations & Society Memberships

  • Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture (President 2013–2023)
  • National Dahlia Society of New Zealand
  • New Zealand Clivia Club (until the club officially wound-up in 2022)
  • Examiner for Plant Variety Rights Office

Awards & Recognition

  • Veitch Memorial Medal – Royal Horticulture Society, UK (2013)
  • Queens Service Medal for services to horticulture (New Year’s
    Honours list 2008)
  • Reginald Cory Cup for work on Dahlias – Royal Horticultural Society, UK (2008)
  • John Brown Memorial medal – Wisley Dahlia trials, UK (2007)
  • Waitakere City Millennium Medal for services to the environment (December 1999)
  • Award for Outstanding Service to the Dahlia – jointly by Victorian National Dahlia Society and the Australian Dahlia Council (1994)
  • Associate of Honour – RNZIH (1994)
  • Silver Medal – National Dahlia Society of New Zealand (1992)
  • Overseas Raiser Award – National Dahlia Society [Britain] (1990)
  • Plant Raisers’ Award – RNZIH (1988)
  • Gold Medal for Breeding and Literature – American Dahlia Society (1988)
  • Fellow – RNZIH (1986)