Allan Mere Award for 2003:

Colin Ogle

Colin Ogle, recipient of the Allan Mere for 2003. Photo: © Carol West, 7 Mar 2020.

“Colin Ogle had a distinguished career as a professional botanist with the Wildlife Service (1978–1987) and the Department of Conservation (1987–2001). Throughout his career Colin has been a strong advocate of botanical training, he is a keen collector of plants for herbaria, and he has been an active member of the Wellington and Wanganui botanical societies.”

The NZBS Committee is pleased to announce that it has this year chosen to award the Allan Mere to Colin Ogle of Wanganui in recognition of his outstanding contributions to New Zealand botany. The award was presented to Colin at a morning tea function at Landcare Research in Lincoln on Friday the 24th October.

Peter de Lange and David Norton, in nominating Colin, outlined the contribution he has made to New Zealand Botany in the following extract:

Colin Ogle has had a distinguished career as a professional New Zealand Botanist working for the former Wildlife Service 1978–1987 when his position was rolled over to the then new Science & Research Division of the Department of Conservation. During 1988 Colin took up the position of Conservation Advisory Scientist with the Wanganui Conservancy, a position he held until his retirement in February 2001. Since then Colin has maintained an interest in the New Zealand and Pacific Flora working as a part-time consultant for the Department of Conservation and other agencies.
In the Wildlife Service and Department of Conservation Colin has had a strong influence on the development of the botanical skills of the various employees he has met, and it is primarily for this (and his encouragement of students when he first embarked on his career as a science teacher in Te Puke and Tawa) that we have elected to nominate him for this award.
Colin was a protégé of the late Tony Druce, and this is evident in his meticulous attention to detail in his herbarium labels, papers, reports and popular articles. During his botanical career Colin has contributed an estimated 6000 herbarium specimens to New Zealand herbaria, mainly (but not exclusively) depositing these in the Allan Herbarium (CHR) but also leaving an excellent set of specimens in WELT, and more recently AK and NZFRI. Colin has always been extremely helpful in meeting plant requests from professional botanists, and has a very keen eye for the unusual. This is especially evident if one reads the notes in Flora 4 and 5. Many new plant records have (and continue to) come from sites Colin Ogle has frequented, e.g., Wellington, Pukerua Bay, Wanganui and Taranaki. Aside from his herbarium Colin prepared detailed botanical accounts of Great Barrier, Whale, D’Urville and Mana Islands. These are especially significant resources for future workers, especially with regard to their detail and botanical accuracy.
Aside from his own botanical collections Colin has worked tirelessly as President of the Wellington Botanical Society, and was also editor of the Wellington Botanical Society Bulletin (1985–1989). Since moving to Wanganui he has been an active member of the Wanganui Botanical Society, both as a committee member, and also helping run field trips, workshops and organising speakers. He was a member of the New Zealand Botanical Society Threatened Plant Committee (1993–1999), and its successor the Threatened Plant Panel, in 2001. Colin is still a first point of reference for any inquiry regarding the Threatened Plants of the Volcanic Plateau and Taranaki Region.
In making this nomination we wish to add that Colin Ogle continues to exert an important influence on the new generation of botanists – both within the Department of Conservation and outside it. Furthermore, he is a well-respected individual, widely recognised for his skills in scientific and internal peer-review, and a general stubbornness in making sure that any scientific publication within his sphere of influence is produced to the very highest quality imaginable.

Letters of support for the nomination were received from Peter Heenan, Patrick Brownsey, the Wellington Botanical Society, Audrey Eagle and Shannel Courtney.

Doug Rogan, c/- Canterbury Museum, Rolleston Avenue, Christchurch

Citation reproduced from the New Zealand Botanical Society Newsletter, No. 73, Sept 2003.