Wakehurst welcomed a special guest earlier this month.
New Zealand high commissioner Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae visited the Millennium Seed Bank to discuss how working together could help save New Zealand’s native trees.
He was welcomed to the site, part of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, by director, Tony Sweeney and given a tour by the seed bank’s building manager, Keith Manger.
Tony said the visit was extremely relaxed and helpful to both parties.
He said: “Some very beneficial conversations were had between our scientists and Sir Jerry and we hope to work collaboratively to help Aotearoa New Zealand in its quest to conserve its native tree seeds.”
Sir Jerry met visiting Māori tribal representatives Kimmy Ranginui and Waipaina Awarau-Morris who attended this year’s seed conservation techniques course at the seed bank.
Sir Jerry said: “I am impressed with the work that Dr Ruth Bone has been doing both in the UK and especially in New Zealand.
“I look forward to seeing how the opportunity that Kimmy and Waipaina have blossoms.”
Kimmy and Waipaina are developing native tree seed conservation programmes within their communities, driven by their concerns about the spread of Myrtle Rust, a fungal pathogen first documented in Aotearoa New Zealand last year that threatens native Myrtles.
The MSB Partnership has collaborated with Māori communities with support from Te Tira Whakamātaki (Māori Biosecurity Network) since 2016, to support development of long-term seed conservation strategies for wild species.
For more information visit: www.kew.org/wakehurst/