Allan Mere Award for 2008:
Dr Patrick Brownsey
Left: staff photo of Pat Brownsey, © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
Right: Anthony Wright presenting Pat Brownsey with the Allan Mere for 2008. Photo: © Carol West.
The NZBS Committee is pleased to announce that this year’s award of the Allan Mere is to Patrick Brownsey of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington.
Patrick was proposed by the Wellington Botanical Society, and his nomination seconded by three other botanical societies (Auckland, Manawatu and Otago), and two individuals (Wendy Nelson and Peter de Lange).
A selection of comments below from the proposer and supporters indicate the breadth of admiration for Pat throughout the botanical community of New Zealand.
Patrick is a meticulous researcher, an outstanding teacher and a proficient administrator.
Many enthusiastic members of the Wellington Botanical Society had their interest in native flora kindled, encouraged and deepened by first attending a WEA or Continuing Education course on ferns or mosses that Patrick taught.
Patrick saw the need for research on New Zealand’s largest genus of flowering plants, Hebe, and successfully applied for funds which enabled a very large research programme to be carried out, resulting in a highly rated fundamental research and published papers, as well as a superb book. In this project, as with so many others, Patrick identified what needed to be done, and acted as a key facilitator throughout, enabling the work to be completed and targets to be met, but did not seek personal advancement or recognition.
He has assisted the greatest number of people with his definitive book on New Zealand Ferns, with John Smith-Dodsworth and line drawings by Tim Galloway.
He has managed the botanical collections at Te Papa for more than 30 years, overseeing the shift to modern premises, implementing databasing, supervising research, managing staff and covering for other managers for extended periods. He has contributed over an extended period to science administration and quality via FRST and Marsden Fund committees.
Patrick was instrumental in setting up the annual Australasian John Child Bryophyte Workshops. For over 20 years he has played a leading role in coordinating these, passing on his extensive knowledge and generously encouraging beginners. Many Botanical Society members have learnt the finer details of ferns and mosses through Patrick’s ‘hands on’ approach at these workshops. His ongoing commitment to, and encouragement of, botanical learning at all levels, is highly valued and respected.
Pat is the tenth recipient of the Allan Mere since the NZBS was asked to administer the award in 1999.
The Allan Mere was presented to Pat at the monthly Wellington Botanical Society meeting at Victoria University on 20th October, where their speaker was Peter Johnson on the subject of ‘A Very Merry Mere’ – his talk to the Otago Botanical Society on the occasion of the presentation of the Allan Mere to him last year!
Anthony Wright, President, New Zealand Botanical Society
Citation reproduced from the New Zealand Botanical Society Newsletter, No. 93, Sept 2008.