Allan Mere Award for 2019:

Rodney J. Lewington (1935–2018)

Left: Rodney Lewington at Taputeranga Marine Reserve, 20 Feb 2010. Photo: © Carol West.
Right: Anthony Wright presenting the Allan Mere to Darea Sherratt, for her husband the late Rodney Lewington.

The late Rodney Lewington was a quiet leader and generous mentor in the botanical world and poured lasting energy into promoting the wonderful world of plants. He was a driving force for the Wellington Botanical Society and the Otari-Wilton’s Bush Trust for over five decades. From the early 1980s, Rodney was a regular contributor to the John Child Bryophtye Workshops, developing a passion for bryophytes that continued for the rest of his life.

The NZ Botanical Society Committee is pleased to announce Rodney J. Lewington (1935–2018) as the recipient of the 2019 Allan Mere Award. Rodney was proposed by the Wellington Botanical Society (WBS) and supported by Patrick Brownsey and Peter Beveridge (Te Papa), Otari-Wilton’s Bush Trust, Alison Knight (Botanical Society of Otago), and Jessica Beever. The proposer and supporters included:

…Rodney was for over five decades a driving force in the botanical world through his engagement in the WBS and the Otari-Wilton’s Bush Trust, his contribution to bryophyte systematics and distribution, and his everlasting energy to promote the wonderful world of plants. Through this nomination, we also would like to acknowledge Darea Sherratt, Rodney’s wife, for her years of support of Rodney’s botanical initiatives, her commitment to the running of WBS, her tenacity on botanical field trips and summer botanising camps, and her dedication to the Otari-Wilton’s Bush Native Botanic Garden.
From the early 1980s he was a regular contributor to the John Child Bryophyte Workshops, developing a passion for bryophytes that continued for the rest of his life. He devoted about 15 years to mosses, and then turned to the even more challenging group of liverworts. Rodney soon graduated to a level where he could disseminate new information about mosses and liverworts, compiling several reports and publishing ten papers, describing a new species, and cataloguing bryophyte diversity in areas around Wellington, Banks Peninsula and Fiordland. His entry into liverworts was particularly challenging because of the widely dispersed scientific literature and lack of a New Zealand Flora. To overcome this, he produced illustrated keys and compiled other information that he shared with professional and beginners on a website, and which is still in regular use today.
In summary, over the last 57 years Rodney has been an integral part of nearly every Wellington Bot Soc trip and meeting, every John Child Bryophyte Workshop and numerous Otari – Wilton’s Bush tours. He facilitated the running of many of these botanical activities. He always made a point of welcoming newcomers and has passed on his enthusiasm and wide knowledge of New Zealand plants to hundreds, if not thousands of people. In doing so he has made a very significant contribution to expanding the understanding of and enthusiasm for New Zealand Botany. Rodney is extraordinarily deserving of the 2019 Allan Mere Award.
Above all, Rodney will be remembered for his quiet leadership, his generosity, his mentoring, and his willingness to take on new challenges.

Anthony Wright presented the Allan Mere to Darea Sherratt, Rodney’s wife, at an event held at Otari Wilton Bush, Wellington, 13th November 2019.

Ewen Cameron, Secretary, New Zealand Botanical Society

Citation reproduced from the New Zealand Botanical Society Newsletter, No. 137, Sept 2019 and No. 138, Dec 2019.