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Conference 2016
"Les Beaux Jardins d’Akaroa"
(The Beautiful Gardens of Akaroa)

Here is a brief outline of what was an exciting event in the NZ Gardens Trust 2016 calendar.

While enjoying fellowship with like minded members, we visited some of the best gardens in New Zealand and travelled to the wonderfully scenic Akaroa.

  • Thursday 14th April Pre Tour: Commenced in Christchurch and visited 5 and 6 Star Canterbury gardens.
    • Christchurch Botanic Gardens
    • Broadfield NZ Landscape Garden
    • Trotts Garden
    • Otahuna Lodge.
  • Friday 15th April: Visited more Christchurch gardens, then travelled to Akaroa.
    • Ohinetahi (Governors Bay, on the way to Akaroa)
    • Annandale
    • Akaroa Potters Croft Garden
    • Giant’s House.
  • Saturday 16th April: Conference opened – Guest Speaker was Dr Richard W. Benfield from USA, then we visited Akaroa gardens, followed by our evening Conference Dinner.
  • Sunday 17th April: Speakers, Members’ Forum, and garden visits returning to Christchurch.

All RNZIH members were welcome to attend this conference.

Irene Collins, Administration Manager
New Zealand Gardens Trust
Ph: 027 NZGTrst (027 694 8778)


The 2016 Annual General Meeting was held in Christchurch along with the 2016 RNZIH Awards Ceremony and the Banks Memorial Lecture.

These events were held the evening before the NZGT pre-conference tour.

Venue: Great Hall in the Chateau on the Park, 189 Deans Avenue, Riccarton, Christchurch 8011.
Date: Wednesday, 13 April 2016.
Time: 6.00 pm.


  1. Apologies / In Memoriam
  2. Minutes of the 2015 Annual General Meeting
  3. Matters arising from the Minutes of the 2015 AGM
  4. President’s Report
  5. Statement of Accounts for 2015 and Budget for 2016
  6. Branch Reports
  7. Election of Officers
  8. General Business
    8.1 Subscriptions
    8.2 RNZIH NZ Gardens Trust
    8.3 NZ Notable Trees Trust
    8.4 RNZIH Education Trust
    8.5 NZ Plant Collection Register
    8.6 Publications and website
    8.7 Other business.

RNZIH Award Presentations: 6.45 pm.

BANKS MEMORIAL LECTURE (a free public lecture)
Cytogenetics and ornamental plant breeding: an ongoing partnership

Prof Brian MurrayBy Prof Brian Murray

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.

Venue: Great Hall in the Chateau on the Park, 189 Deans Avenue, Riccarton, Christchurch 8011.
Date: Wednesday, 13 April 2016.
Time: 7-8 pm.
Cost: Free.

Successful plant breeding requires the development of new gene combinations (genotypes) that give rise to novel characters and new varieties that can then be tested in the marketplace.

Hybridisation between crop and wild relative(s) can provide such variation but much depends on the ease of crossing the species and to an extent their genetic and chromosomal similarity. Knowledge of chromosome number, structure and behaviour is therefore a key component of these breeding programmes that aim to widen the gene pool of existing crops.

Examples taken from a variety of ornamentals such as dahlia, sweet pea, clivia and pinks were used to illustrate this important component of cultivar development.

Prof Brian Murray was born in Trinidad and educated at Queen’s Royal College in Port of Spain. He travelled to the UK to study at the University of Reading, and majored in Botany with subsidiary Zoology. After graduating, Brian went on to undertake a PhD in plant genetics, specifically chromosome evolution and breeding systems in the grass genus Briza. He was then appointed as a lecturer in the Department of Botany and Biochemistry, Westfield College, University of London, where he was involved in the teaching of genetics and undertaking research, together with several PhD students in the general area of population cytogenetics.

In 1984 he moved to New Zealand to take up an appointment as Senior Lecturer in the Department of Botany (subsequently the School of Biological Sciences) at the University of Auckland. One major consequence of moving to Auckland was a shift in research focus as there were excellent opportunities for collaborative research in plant breeding of ornamental plants. These studies, together with investigating cytogenetics of New Zealand native plants (many with a conservation focus), have been the basis of a successful research programme that has involved about 40 graduate students over the years.

Brian Murray has published, together with his collaborators, about 180 refereed scientific publications and has edited the ‘Encyclopedia of Applied Plant Science’ that is now about to appear as an updated second edition in September 2016.

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