News Flash - Help Us Buy a DinosaurA grove of some of the rarest trees on the planet to be auctioned by Sothebys next week have been named after a New Zealander. The National Plant Conservation Network today launched a campaign to raise funds from corporations and wealthy conservationists in a bid to buy a grove of the rare Wollemi pine. The Wollemi pine is considered one of the world’s rarest tree species and was discovered in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney in 1994. One grove of five trees is named The Given Collection after David Given, New Zealand’s own expert plant conservation scientist and global plant conservation advocate. Proceeds from sale of this grove will go to the
New Zealand Plant Conservation Network—the country’s only non-governmental organisation devoted solely to protecting New Zealand’s unique plant life. Network spokesman John Sawyer said today they wanted to raise at least $50,000 in the next week so they could bid at the Sotheby’s auction to by the Given Collection. “Our mission is to ensure The Given Collection comes to New Zealand. If successful, the five trees will be separated and one will be planted for public view at each of New Zealand’s main botanic gardens in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin,’’ Dr Sawyer said. Organisations who pledged money to the joint New Zealand bid will have their name or company logo displayed beside the trees. Dr Given is curator of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and recently received the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding commitment to New Zealand indigenous plant conservation.
Dr Given has for a long time been regarded as one of New Zealand’s leading authorities on native flora and biodiversity, and is the author of Rare and Endangered Plants of New Zealand which was first published in 1981. Working in over 50 countries, including the Antarctic, during his scientific career, he has a passionate interest in conservation horticulture and botanic gardens. He co-chairs the global plant conservation programme of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Species Survival Commission. The Wollemi pine has not only outlived the dinosaurs but was established long before the human species was born. The world release of the Wollemi pines will be made at the Sotheby’s October 23 auction in Sydney of 200 plants that are propagated from the original wild plants. They are being offered as the Collector’s Edition. A launch was held in Sydney yesterday at the Sydney Botanic Gardens and Dr Given attended. Six lots are of groves of five plants each, the proceeds of these lots being dedicated to conservation projects in specific countries. Each of these six lots are named after a particular botanist and one of these is to be The Given Collection and proceeds from this lot will be donated to the NZ Plant Conservation Network.