Allan Mere Award for 2005:

Dr Ewen Cameron

Ewen Cameron, recipient of the Allan Mere for 2005.

“Ewen Cameron has, since the 1970s dedicated himself to botanical conservation and advocacy, and the promotion of botanical awareness, especially through the Auckland Botanical Society and to the wider community through many popular articles. Ewen has been a strong collector in the Auckland region and has encyclopaedic knowledge of the NZ flowering plant flora, which he shares widely.”

The NZBS Committee is pleased to announce that this year’s award of the Allan Mere is to Ewen Cameron of Auckland.

Ewen’s nomination was strongly supported by letters from a large number of botanists and organisations. The following extracts from the nomination and supporting letters are indicative of this support:

Ewen was appointed technical officer in the former Botany Department of the University of Auckland, a position which he held until 1993. During that time, in addition to helping run teaching labs, he helped supervise student research programmes and was curator of the University of Auckland Herbarium (AKU). Between 1991 and 1993, Ewen was also acting Curator of Botany at Auckland Museum Herbarium, a position which was made permanent toward the end of 1993.
While at Auckland University he was able to transform the herbarium into a real working facility – it came to life because he centred his activities around it and emphasised its value to members of staff and students alike.
Ewen’s knowledge and expertise in the area of herbarium curation procedures and practices is of the highest standards.
Although now working as a full time curator, Ewen continues to provide lectures (mainly at the University of Auckland) on New Zealand native plant ecology, taxonomy, weed naturalisations, and aspects of Pacific Biogeography. He is also a much sought-after, popular speaker at Botanical Society gatherings.
During his career Ewen has published 28 papers in peer-reviewed journals, three book chapters and one book. ...Aside from scientific papers, book chapters, books and other allied literature, Ewen has published at least 100 original popular articles on New Zealand and Pacific Botany, mainly in the Auckland Botanical Society Journal (and its predecessor, the Newsletter) but also in the Rotorua and New Zealand Botanical Society Newsletters. His articles may be found in Forest & Bird, and he has also freely contributed numerous images and notes toward articles that have appeared in Plant Talk, and Plant & Garden. Ewen’s images of New Zealand plants and animals have also appeared in many popular books, Department of Conservation publications and more significantly several weed pamphlets put into circulation by the Auckland, Northland Regional Councils and also Environment Waikato...
Ewen Cameron has been a member of the Auckland Botanical Society since 1980, and from 1993–2003 he served as that society’s President. In 2003 he was elected by that society as Honorary Life Member in recognition of his dedicated service. Ewen is now Vice President and in that capacity continues to play an important role in the functioning of the committee, leading field trips, and assisting with evening talks. In 1988–1991 Ewen was also appointed to the Auckland Conservation Board by the then Minister of Conservation where he served as the inaugural chair. He then served on the board for another three years (1991–1994).
Ewen has been Acting-Editor for the New Zealand Botanical Society Newsletter on three occasions, and he has also helped with the 1991 joint Australian/New Zealand Biosystematics and New Zealand Botanical Society conference, and the 2003 John Child Bryophyte Workshop based at Hunua.
His passion for botany is unstinting and is recognised widely. His knowledge is held in esteem by tangata Whenua who often consult Ewen and involve him in decision-making. He is a true believer in societies that promote botanical knowledge and conservation, as is demonstrated through his long involvement with societies such as the Native Forests Action Council, the Offshore Islands Research Group and the Auckland Botanical Society.
Ewen was a key member of the organising committee of both the 2004 and 2005 Auckland BioBlitz.
Ewen has an encyclopaedic knowledge of New Zealand plants encompassing, in particular, vascular plant systematics, introduced and weed species, threatened plants, and conservation in its broadest sense. He is one of a small handful of New Zealand botanists who can accurately identify most species within this range, and who have a sufficiently broad knowledge of the flora to be able to make really well informed decisions about conservation, biosecurity and ecological issues at the species level.
His encyclopaedic knowledge of New Zealand’s vascular flora and his passion to pass this knowledge on inspired many students...
As a professional botanist Ewen has contributed over 13 000 herbarium specimens to New Zealand herbaria.
Ewen is one of the most important collectors of naturalised plants in North Auckland during the last 25 years.
Ewen is an extremely approachable person who gives very generously of his time and knowledge to anyone that he can help.

The Allan Mere was presented by the NZBS President to Ewen at the Auckland Botanical Society meeting at Unitec, Carrington Rd, on 2nd November 2005.

Anthony Wright, President, New Zealand Botanical Society

Citation reproduced from the New Zealand Botanical Society Newsletter, No. 81, Sept 2005.