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Conference 2023
30th March – 2nd April 2023
‘Intimate Landscapes’

Our 2023 Banks Memorial Lecture and some of our award presentations will be held alongside the NZGT conference based in the Wellington region.

BANKS MEMORIAL LECTURE (a free public lecture)
‘An Empire of Plants?: Chinese plants, Asian/ European trade, and  Aotearoa New Zealand,  1790s–1880s’

By Associate Professor James Beattie

James Beattie
James Beattie, 2023 Banks Memorial Lecturer.

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

Venue: Begonia House (greenhouse),  Wellington Botanic Garden.
Date: Thursday, 30th March 2023.
Time: 5.30–6.30 pm, followed by award presentations.
Cost: Free.

James Beattie is a garden, environmental and  world historian whose works focus on the AsiaPacific region, mostly over the last two hundred  years. His many books and articles explore  cross-cultural exchanges occasioned by British  imperialism and globalisation, especially  through gardens and plant exchanges. James
grew up in the Wairarapa and Yorkshire, and  studied history at the University of Otago,  where he gained a BA Hons (first class) and a  PhD.

James is currently working on several garden history-related projects, related to Chinese  migration, garden-making, health and botanical  exchange. He feels privileged to work in the  area of garden history, not least because of the  many wonderful people he has met and with  whom he has collaborated, as well as the
magnificent gardens he has visited.

In 2022, he received the RNZIH Garden History  Award (Award in Horticultural History and  Conservation).


Our King at Kew & the Emperor of China  at Jehol solace themselves under the  shade of the same trees & admire the  elegance of many of the same flowers in
their respective gardens.

Joseph Banks to Sir George Staunton, Letter, January 1796
(Ray Desmond, Kew: The History of the Royal Botanic Gardens, London, 1995, p. 98).

Both the British Empire and the Chinese Empire  were as much empires of plants as they were  empires of conquest. For Joseph Banks, plant-hunting and empire-making were closely  interlinked objectives which he eagerly  promoted. In light of Banks’ activities and the  statement above about the availability of  Chinese plants in Britain, this talk examines  some of the manner in which imperial  connections between China, India, Britain,  Australia and New Zealand reveal lesser known  histories of plant introductions from Asia – and  particularly China – into New Zealand from the  1830s. I will focus on two groups of people who  introduced Asian plants into New Zealand: the  first, typified by former East India Company  trader Thomas McDonnell, who settled in the  Hokianga in 1830, and – the second group –  comprising Cantonese migrants and gardeners,  such as Dunedin flower-lover Wong Koo, who  came to New Zealand from the mid-1860s.

 2021 NZ Gardens Trust conference
‘Rebuild, Renew, Reimagine’

The organising committee are delighted to announce the details of their 2023 conference, which focuses on the diverse landscapes of the Wellington region.

Acclaimed Auckland-based landscape designer Andy Hamilton will deliver the keynote speech at the conference dinner.

The NZGT are collaborating with the RNZIH in offering the Banks Lecture, to be presented by Dr James Beattie, on the Thursday evening. Award presentations will follow the lecture.

The programme, registration form and accommodation details are at:

(Note different venue, date and time to the NZGT conference and Banks Lecture)

Venue: Friends Room, Auckland Botanic  Gardens, Manurewa.
Date: Sunday 30th July 2023.
11.00 am.


  1. Welcome
  2. Apologies / In Memoriam
  3. Minutes of the 2022 Annual General Meeting
  4. Matters arising from the Minutes of the 2022 AGM, including ratification of a revised Constitution
  5. Presidents’ Annual Report
  6. Statement of Accounts for 2022, Budget for 2023 and confirmation of Auditor
  7. Branch report (Auckland)
  8. Trust reports
  9. Publications and website report
  10. Election of Officers
  11. General Business.

The AGM will be followed by RNZIH award  presentations.

Minutes, reports, and proposed revisions to our  Constitution will be circulated before the AGM.

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Last updated: 5 March, 2023