MPI Report 2021

Taking Stock: Resolving New Zealand’s Cultivated Plants Problem project began in January 2020.  OCNZ is a collaborator. To recap; this is a  3-year project funded by MPI, led by Murray Dawson, Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture (RNZIH) with the aim to facilitate better management and utilisation of plant biodiversity in New Zealand.

Quarterly meetings are held by Zoom to discuss progress. Following the June 2020 meeting I was invited to be part of the governance group.  The role of the governance group is to ensure project milestones are being met and that funds are used appropriately.

It was established through initial meetings with EPA (Environmental Protection Authority) that proof of presence is required over several time periods pre and post the HSNO Act.  Only species with a solid set of data will be considered for Section 26 applications.

Prior to the Taking Stock project OCNZ produced a large body of work during 2018 where we compiled a list of orchid species advertised in old orchid catalogues, crossed checked them against the PBI to establish which species were missing, and checked their names and synonyms against several plant lists.  The 2018 work has been useful in that I have been able to take the species not listed on the PBI and use them as a base for gathering proof of presence references. I have been searching orchid catalogues, award databases and orchid journals.

Last November Sandra Simpson kindly searched Papers Past and other publications for articles mentioning orchid species present in NZ.  Sandra’s spreadsheet of findings produced some more references which I could add to my set.  Thank you Sandra, this work was very helpful.

Towards the end of last year Wilma Fitzgibbon gave me a box of orchid catalogues and journals which contained a set of Keith Goodwin catalogues that I hadn’t seen before. It was a treasure trove of information which produced some more references for my set.  Thank you Wilma.

It has been slow work due to the limited time I have available to spend on it but I am in a position now where I can submit my list to Murray for discussion. The next set of Section 26 applications will be submitted in December and we hope to include some orchids in this round.  Rhododendron were in the first set of applications that were made earlier this year.  At the time of writing this report I hadn’t heard whether they had been successful or not.

I have been researching 440 orchid species but only a small number of these are likely to be selected for Section 26 Applications due to limited information.  I will continue to build my reference set and will endeavour to have some orchids included in the next round of Section 26 applications.

Glenys MacRae