A report by Dr. Peter de Lange in the Auckland Botanical Society Journal, November 2007 issue explains:
"The Life Time Achievement Award is the NZ Plant Conservation Network's highest honour - our equivalent of the Loder Cup. It is not an annual award - though for the last two years it has been given to what the NZPCN regard as New Zealand's finest plant conservationists. We are sure that members will agree that Geoff Davidson fully fits that ‘requirement'. Past recipients have been the late Dr David Given (2005) and in 2006, Dr Brian Molloy - often dubbed the ‘Father of New Zealand Plant Conservation'. Congratulations Geoff. Well done, it is an honour richly deserved.
"Here are selected parts of Geoff's supporting nomination forms:
"From saving species, to running the country's best plant nursery, to being part of major initiatives to protect plants and plant communities (e.g., Kaikoura Island Trust and the NZ Native Forests Restoration Trust) Geoff has continually shown his colours as one of the main ambassadors for NZ plant life. The first sponsor of the Network and first to offer assistance with research on indigenous plants he is always helping. It would be a worthy recognition of his work to make him a Lifetime member of the Network"
"When I was first introduced to him by Mr Graeme Platt in 1993, Platt described him as ‘the only other plants-man who really cares about native plants'. Davidson, at the time, had a remarkable plant, the only apparently sexually viable specimen of Pennantia baylisiana - then the world's rarest tree. A quiet, modest, and utterly humble man, Geoff was quick to explain that the tree was really Dr Ross Beever's, he was ‘just looking after it'...
This sums up Geoff's unsung, silent role in New Zealand Plant Conservation. Geoff is a Man who bloody well cares for the trees, the environment, the forest and the flora. He lives it, breathes and religiously embraces all aspects of it..... This is the man who played a pivotal role in saving Mangarakau Swamp from destruction, and prevented Motu Kaikoura Island being turned into a rich people's play ground or - even worse - a casino. Geoff just quietly got on and found the money and got these sites and other important wetlands, dune systems, and forests protected throughout the country. Sure he'll say he did it with a team of dedicated people, and this is true, but we all know his motivation and drive...
Geoff also initiated and now runs Oratia Native Plant Nursery - arguably the best native plant nursery in New Zealand.....unlike many other nurseries he actually cares that the plants he sells are correctly named and labelled, their provenance is known, and that they are healthy. He always tries to grow them all from seed. Further, if he tells you they are eco-sourced - you can bet your money he is telling the truth. Geoff takes his work and his mission to save New Zealand's flora seriously. To him it's not a business it's a religion."
"From a professional scientist's view point Geoff provides an incredibly important service. He provides - free of charge - plants for research working on the ethos that any improvement in knowledge is an improvement for conservation management, and for the good of all people. Other people would charge, Geoff refuses payment, and I have never seen him blanch when samples - which we could potentially kill - have been taken from even his most valued stock..."
"Geoff is also the sole reason Pennantia baylisiana has a future. He would of course say it differently, that others did the work, he just grew the plants, but because of him there are now in excess of 400 seedlings/adults of Pennantia baylisiana in cultivation, and we now have a mechanism to restore a functioning entity back into the wild....."
"I also think it pertinent that Geoff always provides plants for display purposes at the Lucy Cranwell lectures, and did so last year for the Cheeseman Conference, as indeed he did for the NZPCN Auckland gathering in 2004. Such is the Man's generosity that at the Auckland 2004 conference he gave away most of the stock free to NZPCN members.
"Today, thanks to Geoff's efforts we have a native plant nursery that safe guards genetically distinct and variable lines of some of our most seriously threatened plants. Thanks to Geoff, Aucklanders now have another island paradise to be carefully restored rather than ransacked by the ignorant and rudely wealthy."
Peter J. de Lange
New Zealand WeedWise Nursery Award - 2008
August 26 was a busy day for us. As well as holding the first seminar of our Spring Series, we were also presented with the New Zealand Plant Protection Society's WeedWise Nursery Award for 2008.
Organised by the Council of Australasian Weed Societies (CAWS), this award recognises nurseries who:
• voluntarily remove invasive plants from their nursery and stock lists,
• sell indigenous flora,
• ensure that their stock is correctly labelled,
• participate in such schemes as "Plant Me Instead", and
• educate customers about environmental issues, especially about invasive plants.
Dr. Ruud Kleinpaste presented the award and spoke of the importance of biodiversity and biosecurity issues. Threatened plant research, conservation management and weed recognition were topics addressed by Dr. Peter de Lange, a DOC scientist who we are pleased to be able to assist in his work with threatened plants. Representatives from various local bodies who support such philosophies joined us for lunch and environmentally-friendly networking.
As we scanned the presentation area for the best place to take photographs, it occurred to us it is regrettable that ‘WeedWise' does not imply ‘WeedFree'! A wet winter plus warmer temperatures produces weeds no matter how ‘WeedWise' the nursery!