Allan Mere Award for 2016:
Dr John Dawson (1928–2019)
NZBS President Anthony Wright presenting the Allan Mere Award for 2016 to Dr John Dawson. Photo: © Chris Moore.
The NZBS Committee is pleased to announce Dr John Dawson as the recipient of the 2016 Allan Mere Award.
The nomination was made by the Wellington Botanical Society and supported by Katharine Dickinson (Professor of Botany, University of Otago), Phil Garnock-Jones (Emeritus Professor, Victoria University of Wellington) and Neill and Barbara Simpson of Queenstown.
As an academic at the Victoria University of Wellington John’s research focused on the taxonomy of Apiaceae and Myrtaceae, but he also contributed to biogeography and plant growth form research. In addition to his scholarly research, John wrote eight books on the ecology and identification of New Zealand plants (many with photographer Rob Lucas), several of which won awards.
The nomination papers outline John’s scholarly research on New Zealand and Pacific plants, his decades of University teaching and research supervision, his extensive community outreach and promotion of botanical knowledge, and his acclaimed books on New Zealand plant diversity and ecology.
John’s supporter’s write:
John has a rare ability to engage the public and convey his knowledge, and he has never lost his enthusiasm to share.
I believe his books are the cornerstone achievement for which he richly deserves this award, especially the magnificent New Zealand’s Native Trees (with Rob Lucas), but I want to draw attention also to his primary research on New Zealand Metrosideros and Apiaceae and Pacific Myrtaceae, his enthusiastic teaching and community outreach, and his generous support of students and visiting researchers.
In addition to his scholarship and expertise, John’s personal qualities of calmness, kindness, consideration and generosity have earned him the respect of colleagues, students and the public.
John made a significant contribution to botany through his public outreach. The adult education classes he taught inspired many to become amateur, or even professional, botanists. He has been involved in many community projects and has supported Otari-Wilton’s Bush through giving regular talks and tours.
John Dawson was presented the Allan Mere at an afternoon tea organised by the Wellington Botanical Society on the 13th of October 2016. The ceremony was attended by veritable who’s who of Wellington botanists and ecologists, as well as family and friends. It was held at Otari Wilton’s Bush, a fitting location given John has given many talks and tours there over the years.
Anthony Wright, President, New Zealand Botanical Society
Citation reproduced from the New Zealand Botanical Society
125, Sept 2016 and No.
126, Dec 2016.