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John William Hall Arboretum 150th in 2022

John William Hall was a most unusual and talented man to whom we pwe a deep debt of gratitude for having intervened to ensure that the Arboretum off Currie Street was planted in 1872 - New Zealand's first, and probably one of the most important from the standpoint of its unique collection of native trees that go alongside others from around the World.

Read all about it on the Council Website here

Interest in the Arboretum has waxed and waned over the years, apart from amongst the dedicated members of Forest & Bird,but it has never received its deserved place in our hearts - possibly because of its unfortunate location in a run-down and mainly unsympathetic part of town. The contrast with the wonderful tourist attraction provided by the Gisborne Arboretum is stark. That may be about to change.

Our town has now benefited from the arrival of a renowned arborist who has retired to Puriri, and immediately taken an interest to the point of offering to carry out the administration of the Trust providing oversight for the Arboretum. His name is Chris Webb and he has a impressive CV.

Chris's particular interest lies in the wonderful and most unusual Podocarpus. totara sub species that John William Hall identified and planted, (variously named P. cunninghamii, and P. hallii, but more correctly P. laetus) and it is these specimans that has attracted widespread interest on which Chris is determined to to capitalise - he wants at least 150 planted around the Peninsula to ensure its survival, and to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Arboretum in 2022 to which he hopes to attract the annual conference of International Dendrological Society, of which he is a member.

Chris called a small initial meeting at the Library this morning to discuss just how the proposal may be advanced, and just how we can draw attention to the site through commemorative plantings by prominent people - politicians, and others who have a direct connection with William. Secondly to develop plans for propagating, distributing and ensuring safe planting of the P. totara around the Peninsula.

As with many other well-intentioned activities in this District, and this town in particular, the main objective must be to involve school-children in such a way that they become motivated to carry on  throughout their lives. Interest among those of uncertain age is all very well, but we need wider involvement to ensure continuity.

Chris is well motivated in this direction, and has already approached schools. He will undoubtedly ensure that an appropriate plan is developed, and the presence of Council Reserves and Parks Manager - Derek Thompson at the meeting provides confidence that this will happen.

I will post more information as soon as it becomes available. Enter John William Hall into the search engine to get earlier 2016 and 2017 posts on the subject.

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Reader Comments (2)

The correct name is:- JOHN William HALL reserve. Has been that name since year one, and John William Hall went on the speaking circuit under that name.
The gentleman was a chemist in Thames

July 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPodocarp

I had not realised the long-standing controversy over this nomenclature - when advised, I changed it immediately - even before your comment came in, hopefully in time to prevent any further angst.

July 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBill

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