The Wellington Botanical Society nominated Chris Horne as the Winner of the 2019 Loder Cup, with supporting nominations from Greater Wellington Regional Council, Wellington Natural Heritage Trust, Zealandia, and Wellington City Council.
Advocating for the protection and restoration of native ecosystems, particularly in the greater Wellington region, has been a major focus for Chris over the last four decades. Although receiving no formal qualifications in botany, his passion for New Zealand’s plants has led to him being one of the most knowledgeable and respected botanists in Wellington. From 1989 until 2017 Chris and his partner Barbara Mitcalfe, who passed away in 2017, were contracted by organisations in the Wellington region to undertake botanical surveys, monitor vegetation plots and develop plant lists.
Chris has been a highly active member of the Wellington Botanical Society for almost 40 years. He has been on their committee for 25 years and has been the Editor of their triannual newsletter since 1993. Additionally, he has been an active member of numerous other conservation groups, such as the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary Trust and the Natural Heritage Trust.
Chris, and Barbara, were involved in the development of the Botanical Trail in Zealandia and have guided many botanical walks for the general public, as well as providing botanical training to Zealandia’s guides. Chris has co-authored 92 articles for the Tararua Tramping Club newsletter, with each article featuring a different native plant. He was also involved in writing the text and choosing images for an information display and writing the text for a leaflet on Makara Foreshore Reserve.
These various outreach activities by Chris have led to increased awareness by both botanists and the general public about New Zealand’s native flora. He has also ensured that his knowledge of New Zealand plants, their conservation and restoration has been passed on to the next generation of botanists and conservationists.