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Tree symposiumSymposium 2008

"Heritage Trees — Our Future Heritage"

Date: Thursday, 8 May 2008
Time: 9.00am-5.00pm
Place: The Duxton Hotel, 170 Wakefield Street, Wellington

Contact: David Sole
Tel: (04) 499 1901
Mob: 021 227 8296
Post: C/- Wellington Botanic Garden, 101 Glenmore Street, Wellington 6012

From the magnificent kauri Tane Mahuta to the humble pine and macrocarpa New Zealand's cultural history is represented by its trees. Today our tree heritage has never been under a greater threat as urbanisation intensifies, landholdings change from family ownership to large company holdings, restructuring programmes see arboreta fall into neglect and early generations of trees become senescent.

The Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture (RNZIH) established the Notable and Historic Trees Scheme in 1977 to recognise and protect rare, culturally significant and scientifically important heritage trees throughout New Zealand. Initially protection work was based around S. W. Burstall's surveys from the late 1960s. As the scheme gained acceptance the Standard Tree Evaluation Method (STEM) became widely adopted as the tool for assessing the value of a tree or trees in the landscape. Trees listed as notable trees became listed on district plans and were afforded varying degrees of protection. Nationally some 3000 trees are now listed within 400 registrations.

When the RNZIH, in association with the New Zealand Arboricultural Association (NZAA), established the Notable Trees Trust of New Zealand, it became apparent that there were some key issues surrounding heritage trees that needed discussion in a national forum. These included:

  • How we identify and classify heritage trees
  • How we raise the levels of understanding of the role heritage trees play in the physical and cultural landscape
  • How we continue to list and verify heritage trees
  • The role of our trees in a global context
  • The gaps - how much do we really know about our heritage tree population
  • Immediate and long term threats to heritage trees including urban infi ll and tree senescence
  • Strengthening protection for listed trees.

This symposium brought together those who have a passion for trees and the professional community, and rekindled the discussion around heritage trees, stimulating progress towards increased recognition and protection of trees to promote the breadth and depth of the heritage tree community in New Zealand.

Symposium Programme

8.30 Registration opens

9.00 Coffee/tea

9.30 Jack Hobbs, RNZIH President
Opening and introduction.

10.00 Keynote Speaker
Nicola Jackson, NZ Historic Places Trust
Understanding trees as part of the heritage fabric of NZ - now and the future.

10.45 Morning tea

11.05 Rob Graham, Wintec, Hamilton
Understanding the value of our heritage trees in a global context.

11.35 Martin Thompson, Dunedin City Council Parks & Reserves
Tree protection in Dunedin - an example of successful integration with the District Plan.

12.15 Lunch

13.00 Chris Ecroyd, Scion, National Forestry Herbarium Curator
Heritage trees: the past & present role of Scion.

13.30 Bruce Moorman, New Zealand Arboricultural Association
The role of professional organisations in maintaining our tree heritage.

14.00 Dieter Steinegg, Christchurch City Council Arborist
Evaluating the condition of our heritage tree stock. Are we too late? How much time do we have?

14.30 Penny Cliffin, UNITEC, Auckland
Heritage trees at the neighbourhood scale - models of volunteer engagement.

15.00 Afternoon tea

15.30 Bryan Gould, RNZIH Notable Trees Trust.
Update of the RNZIH Notable Trees scheme and the formation of the trust - "Towards a new database and online resource".

16.00 Bryan Gould

Facilitated Discussion:
Finding our existing heritage tree stock. What is the state of our knowledge and our records? Closer linkages between the RNZIH Notable Trees Trust scheme and regional authorities lists. Where to from here?

16.30 Jack Hobbs
Conference summary.

17.00 Symposium closes.

Download Registration Brochure

Download Programme and Abstracts


Symposium was sponsored by:

  • Treescape
    Gold Sponsor
  • Wellington City Council
    Gold Sponsor
  • Auckland Botanic Gardens
    Bronze Sponsor
Auckland Botanic Gardens
  • Christchurch City Council
    Lunch Sponsor
  • Excell
    Delegates Bags


There were other activities at the symposium venue:

RNZIH NZ Gardens Trust Conference
'Blown Away by Gardens'

Date: 9-11 May 2008
Place: Duxton Hotel, Wellington

The fifth NZGT conference was an exciting programme of garden visiting combined with informative lectures by world-renowned designer Vladimir Sittar from Australia, Beverley McConnell of "Ayrlies Garden", Jack Hobbs of Auckland Botanic Gardens, and others. These are always conferences to remember!

Note: Registration for the NZ Gardens Trust Conference was separate to the Heritage Trees - Our Future Heritage Symposium. For further details contact Liz Morrow: or visit



Date: Friday, 9 May 2008
Time: 5.30pm
Place: Duxton Hotel, Wellington


2008 BANKS MEMORIAL LECTURE (a free lecture open to the public)

"The greatest service which can be rendered any country..."

Date: Friday, 9 May 2008
Time: 6.30-7.30pm
Place: Duxton Hotel, Wellington

By Ross Ferguson

Ross FergusonSir Joseph Banks is best known in New Zealand as the botanist who accompanied Cook on his first great voyage in the Endeavour. Banks, however, was only a young man when he came to New Zealand and his botanical explorations, although interesting to us, represent a relatively small part of his scientific career. When Banks returned to Britain, his wealth, his friendship with George III and his role as President of the Royal Society of London meant that for nearly 40 years he was the British Government's chief scientific adviser. Banks was particularly interested in the practical application of science and as a large landowner, especially enthusiastic in promoting agricultural improvement. Some of his efforts to bring new crops to the British colonies was described. Some of the social and historical consequences of plant introduction was then considered in more detail. The lecture was illustrated by copies of many early prints and paintings.

Read article based on this lecture


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