DUNEDIN BOTANIC GARDEN, NEW ZEALAND’S FIRST AND THOSE THAT FOLLOWED BY ALAN MATCHETT

This discussion look at the establishment of Botanic Gardens in New Zealand,focusing on Dunedin Botanic Garden, New Zealand’s first and its development over the last 159 years.

With plans being designed in England and Scotland to establish settlements in New Zealand the importance of including green space for recreation and the enjoyment of beautiful plants and researching of crops and plantations that would grow in the ‘new country’ was well recognised and areas for these purposes were laid out in all of New Zealand’s major settlements.

Dunedin City was no different and from its establishment it has fulfilled many of the ambitions of planners and its earliest settlers through to residents of the present day. Alan looks at some of the significant garden developments over the years, the infrastructure and historical features that evolved and shaped Dunedin Botanic Garden to make it unique amongst New Zealand public gardens.

Alan Matchett began his career with Dunedin City Council Parks Department in 1980. After completing horticultural apprenticeship, Alan took on a succession of roles and increasing responsibilities and between 2000 and 2011 also managed the City’s Cemeteries and Crematorium. His current title is Botanic Garden Manager and is responsible for the management of the Botanic Garden. Alan has been involved in or overseen many notable achievements: seed collecting trips overseas including China, re-establishing horticulture trade training and youth engagement programmes; presenting papers at various Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) and Botanic Gardens Australia and New Zealand (BGANZ) congress’s and overseeing Dunedin Botanic Gardens’ 150th anniversary in 2013. In this same year work began on the construction of the new plant production and nursery facility and also of special importance to Alan and his ambition for Dunedin Botanic Garden was the hosting of the 5th BGCI Global Botanic Garden Congress and 6th BGANZ Congress.

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