Former DOC ranger wins prestigious plant conservation cup
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionFormer Golden Bay DOC Ranger Simon Walls has been presented with one of New Zealand’s most prestigious conservation awards, the Loder Cup.
Date: 29 November 2022
Minister of Conservation Poto Williams presented the Loder Cup to Simon Walls for his significant contribution to native plant conservation, at a ceremony at Onetahua Marae in Golden Bay today.
The Loder Cup was first donated in 1926 to encourage and honour New Zealanders who work to investigate, promote, retain and cherish our indigenous flora.
Department of Conservation (DOC) Northern South Island Operations Director Roy Grose says Simon Walls is a worthy recipient of the Loder Cup because of his dedicated work to protect and restore native plants that went above and beyond his DOC work.
“Simon’s passion for our native flora and his outstanding efforts to preserve it have been lifelong and are continuing since his retirement in 2021.
“Simon has made many important achievements for our native flora, including helping to prevent the extinction of some unique species, notably coastal peppercress (Lepidium banksii).
“Simon has found previously undiscovered native plant species, such as the Te Tai Tapu forget-me-not and the Te Tai Tapu daphne in north-west Nelson. He has also discovered new populations of threatened species.
“Such is Simon’s commitment to our native flora, he grows threatened native plants at his Golden Bay home, including Pentapogon lacustris, Cook’s scurvy grass, tarata Kahurangi and coastal peppercress. The cultivation of these plants helps ensure the continuation of species should they become extinct in their natural environments and provides seedlings for planting in the wild.
“Simon has worked to protect and preserve threatened native species in the Cobb Valley in Kahurangi National Park. It includes new plantings of two rare pittosporum species in the area, which he is continuing as a retirement project.
“The Golden Bay/Mohua iwi, Manawhenua ki Mohua, speak of their high regard for Simon and their appreciation of how he has generously and enthusiastically shared his knowledge of taonga indigenous species.
“Simon has also contributed his knowledge and skills to many restoration projects in his Golden Bay community, including a project with local landowners planting an extensive native vegetation riparian corridor on both sides of the Onekākā River.”
Simon Walls worked for more than 30 years in public service to protect and preserve the unique plants of Aotearoa New Zealand. He was first with the Lands and Survey Department from 1967, and then with DOC from its formation in 1987 until he retired last year.
He was nominated for the Loder Cup by the Nelson Marlborough Conservation Board with supporting letters from Manawhenua ki Mohua, the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, and the Nelson Botanical Society Inc.
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