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Conference 2007
"Southern Splendour"

This conference was held 4-6 May 2007 and organised by the RNZIH NZ Gardens Trust.

The venue was the Camelot Room, The Chateau on the Park, Kilmarnock Street, Christchurch.

Date: Friday 4 May 2007.
Time: 6.30 pm, and was followed by Institute Awards prior to the Banks Memorial Lecture.

BANKS MEMORIAL LECTURE (a free public lecture)
"Discovery and description" of the New Zealand flora: a contemporary perspective

By Peter Heenan

The Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture was delighted to be associated with the New Zealand Gardens Trust annual Conference and welcomed Peter Heenan as their guest speaker for the Banks Memorial Lecture for 2007.

Peter provided a very interesting and informative lecture.

The Banks Memorial Lecture is a free lecture open to the public. It commemorates Sir Joseph Banks, botanist on Captain Cook's first voyage to New Zealand. During a later distinguished scientific career, he was Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, London.

Date: Friday 4 May 2007.
Time: 7.30-8.30 pm.
Venue: The Camelot Room, The Chateau on the Park, Kilmarnock Street, Christchurch.
Cost: Free.

New Zealand has a rich history of botanical discovery and description of its flora, with the first voyages made by Captain Cook including naturalists such as Joseph Banks, Daniel Solander, Johann Forster, and Georg Forster.

Plants collected by these naturalists formed the backbone of the early floras of New Zealand, including Florulae Insularum Australium Prodromus by G. Forster and the Handbook of the New Zealand flora by J. D. Hooker. The more recent New Zealand flora's have relied much more extensively on plant collections and research by botanists resident in New Zealand, including T. Kirk, T. F. Cheeseman, and the authors of the five volume Flora of New Zealand series published between 1961 and 2000.

The flora treatments provide the latest information up to the time they are published, but subsequent field work, plant collections, and detailed study of character variation and plant distributions frequently provides new insights into relationships among plants. Taxonomic research on many groups of New Zealand plants is an ongoing process, and the "discovery and description" of the New Zealand flora is far from complete. Although more than 2000 indigenous New Zealand plants have been named it is estimated that about another 15% (c. 300) have yet to be formally named and described.

Since the early 1990s there has been a renaissance in flowering plant taxonomy, and from this time more than 156 new species, subspecies, and varieties of New Zealand plants have been named. Much of this recent research has been on grasses, threatened species, and species-rich genera which lacked a modern taxonomic treatment. In this talk I will provide an overview of some of this taxonomic research including aspects biogeography, conservation, the role of DNA sequence data.

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