NZ Orchid Society 75th Jubilee

The New Zealand Orchid Society is the country’s oldest having officially formed on April 22, 1948 at a meeting attended by 18 enthusiasts. Subscriptions were £1 1 shilling (more than $100 in today’s money!). July 1948 saw the first edition of a publication for members (folded into the OCNZ publication in 1985), and the first NZOS show was held on September 8 and 9, 1949. The NZOS judging system, based on a modified form used in New South Wales, was introduced in 1958, receiving recognition from the RHS in 1976. In 1990 the NZOS co-hosted the World Orchid Conference in Auckland.

To mark its 75th birthday on May 12 and 13, the NZOS went all out, generously hosting  a free 2-day conference with 3 speakers from Australia, plus a 2-day show and a jubilee dinner in the Horticultural Hall in Western Springs, Auckland.

Cutting the jubilee cake are, from left, past presidents Ross Tucker and Leigh Leaity, current president Noel Townsley and past president Joe Vance. Photo: Noel Townsley

The show’s Grand Champion and Reserve Champion orchids both came from the Waitakere Orchid Society display.

Bulbophyllum Elizabeth Ann ‘Buckleberry’ was judged Grand Champion and was shown by Barry Baxter. Photo: Sandra Simpson
Reserve Champion was Rlc. Village Chief North ‘Green Genius’ grown by Lio Teope. Photo: Sandra Simpson

The three speakers from Australia were Clive Halls (Mt Beenak Orchids, Vic), David Banks (Hills District Orchids, NSW, website under construction) and Michael Coker (Boutique Orchids, Vic), who between them covered a wide range of topics, including Masdevallias, Sarcochilus, softcane Dendrobiums, Coelogyne, pests and diseases, and rare and unusual species, and clearly enjoyed each other’s company. Clive had almost lost his voice by Sunday afternoon, but was smiling throughout. David left us with the information that his book, Orchid Species of the World, will be published later in 2023, a seminal work full of images, mostly his own.

Phalaenopsis Red Wan Chaio was shown by Peter and Barbara Jenner. Photo: Sandra Simpson
Miltonidium Mem Mary Kavanaugh was shown by Susan and Ross Tucker. Photo: Sandra Simpson
Fredclarkeara After Dark ‘SVO Black Pearl’ was shown by Chris Whitby. Photo: Sandra Simpson
Vanda lamellata var. boxallii was shown by Rossy Fleischer. Photo: Sandra Simpson
NZOS included a tribute and history of the society in its show. Photo: Sandra Simpson