Allan Mere Award for 2004:

Dr Ian Athol Edward Atkinson (1932–2019)

Ian Atkinson, recipient of the Allan Mere for 2004. Photo: © Cynthia Petersen, 17 July 2007.

“Ian Atkinson is a scientist who, over more than four decades since joining DSIR in 1958, has made significant contributions to New Zealand botany and ecology. As an active member of botanical and ecological societies and conservation boards, Ian has encouraged the conservation and restoration of indigenous ecosystems, and willingly shared his expertise and knowledge.”

The NZBS Committee is pleased to announce the award of the Allan Mere for 2004 to Dr Ian Atkinson of Upper Hutt.

Ian was nominated for the award by the Wellington and Otago Botanical Societies. The following are extracts from the letters and CV received with his nomination.

Ian Atkinson has worked as a scientist since 1958, mostly with the NZ Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, briefly with Landcare Research, and self-employed with Ecological Research Associates of NZ since 1994. His scientific output includes authorship or co-authorship of 101 scientific papers. He is currently working on successional changes affecting the vegetation of Northland, Auckland and Coromandel coastlines. He is also working with John Campbell on the effect that rats have had on native forests by eating seed or seedlings of vulnerable tree species.
Ian chaired the Scientific Advisory Committee of WWF-NZ from 1993 to 95. He is a Life Member of both WWF and the NZ Ecological Society (President: 1986–87). He was a member of the Wellington National Parks and Reserves Board from 1981 to 1990 and a member of the Chatham Island Conservation Board from 1990 to 1999. He was a NZ Commemoration Medallist in 1990, received the Charles Fleming Award for Environmental Achievement in 1992 and was a recipient of a ‘Biodiversity Accolade’ in 2000.
Ian was the originator, in 1989, of Wellington Botanical Society’s commitment to the restoration of Te Marua Bush, Upper Hutt. This is a regionally significant matai/totara/black maire remnant which was infested with large sycamore trees, and a suite of other weed species. Since the removal of most of these, and the replanting of appropriate, locally-sourced native species on the margins, this 0.6 ha remnant is recovering well. Ian continues to assist with workbees and with advice on management.
lan’s major research interests have centered on... (i) improving the effectiveness of conservation on the country’s offshore islands... (ii) developing repeatable methods of mapping native vegetation as a means of identifying future change... (iii) the historical and current effects of introduced rats on the fauna and flora of New Zealand... (iv) the potential restoration of native plant-animal communities to provide viable systems in which native species can survive in the long term.
In addition to his professional work, Ian has willingly and freely shared his expertise with interested groups, such as botanical societies.

The award for the Allan Mere took place at the meeting of the Wellington Botanical Society, 20th September 2004, Victoria University, Wellington.

Aaron Wilton, Secretary, New Zealand Botanical Society, c/- Canterbury Museum, Rolleston Avenue, Christchurch 8001

Citation reproduced from the New Zealand Botanical Society Newsletter, No. 77, Sept 2004.