Hugh Wilson (botanist)

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Hugh Wilson
Hugh Wilson 71.jpg
Hugh Wilson in November 2011
Born 1945
Residence Hinewai Reserve, Banks Peninsula
Citizenship New Zealand
Fields botanist
Alma mater University of Canterbury

Hugh Dale Wilson (born 1945) is a New Zealand botanist. He has written and illustrated a number of books about New Zealand plants. He manages Hinewai Reserve on Banks Peninsula.

Early life[edit]

Wilson was born in Timaru. He went to Elmwood District (later Normal) School in Christchurch where he began drawing birds at an early age. At St Andrews College he was Dux in 1962. He taught for Voluntary Service Overseas, the British scheme on which Volunteer Service Abroad was later to be based, in Sarawak on Borneo. After attending the University of Canterbury, he studied the botany of Stewart Island / Rakiura, and then the Aoraki / Mount Cook region, for several years. This was followed by a botanical survey of Banks Peninsula.[1]

Banks Peninsula PNAP[edit]

The Department of Lands and Survey had a programme, known as the Protected Natural Areas Programme (PNAP), of identifying and protecting examples of plant life, animals, ecosystems and landscape features that make New Zealand unique. The PNAP was established in 1983, and the country was divided into 268 ecological districts, grouped into 85 ecological regions. Banks Peninsula was one of those regions, with Port Hills, Herbert and Akaroa making up its three districts.[2]

Wilson started fieldwork on Banks Peninsula and Kaitorete Spit in September 1983. He established a 1000 yard grid-point system and surveyed a 6 m x 6 m sample plot at each site. That way, 1331 plots were surveyed over a five-year period. While the work had been supported by the Koiata Botanical Trust, DOC realised that it was directly relevant to their aims, and asked Wilson to write the Banks Peninsula PNAP report. The report was the 21st in the series and published in 1992.[3]

Hinewai Reserve[edit]

Hinewai Reserve is a private nature reserve on Banks Peninsula. It started off as a 109 ha block of farmland bought by the Maurice White Native Forest Trust in September 1987 and is now 1230 ha of gorse and regenerating native bush.[4] Wilson identified the land as suitable for the trust's aims during his PNAP work. He has been managing the reserve since its purchase.

In popular culture[edit]

Painting of Wilson in Christchurch's Re:START mall

Wilson is featured in the film Earth Whisperers/Papatuanuku.[5]

In 2010, Wilson was interviewed for the feature-length documentary film "Queen of the Sun: What are the bees telling us?"[6]

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • The year of the hornbill : a volunteer’s service in Sarawak (1966)
  • Wildflowers of New Zealand (1974)
  • Vegetation of Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand (1976) ISBN 0-477-06100-1
  • Wild plants of Mount Cook National Park : field guide (1978, 1996)
  • Field guide : Stewart Island Plants (1982, 1994) ISBN 0-9583299-0-7
  • Banks Peninsula Track : a guide to the route, natural features and human history (2008, 10th edition)
  • Banks ecological region : Port Hills, Herbert and Akaroa ecological districts (c1992) ISBN 0-478-01394-9
  • Small-leaved shrubs of New Zealand (1993) ISBN 0-473-01851-9
  • Naturalised vascular plants on Banks Peninsula (1999) ISBN 0-473-05826-X
  • Hinewai : the journal of a New Zealand naturalist (2002) ISBN 1-877251-20-8
  • Food for tūī on Banks Peninsula : a botanical assessment (2007) ISBN 0-478-22677-2
  • Natural History of Banks Peninsula (2009) ISBN 978-1-877257-82-7
  • Plant Life on Banks Peninsula (2013) ISBN 978-0-9583299-6-5


  1. ^ Wilson 2002, p. 1.
  2. ^ Wilson 2002, p. 7.
  3. ^ Wilson 2002, pp. 7ff.
  4. ^ Cronshaw, Tim (22 August 2008). "Return of the Natives". The Press. 
  5. ^ Gallagher, Kathleen. "Earth Whisperers/Papatuanuku". WickCandle Film. Retrieved 4 April 2010. 
  6. ^ "Hugh Wilson". Retrieved 1 July 2015. 
  7. ^ IPNI.  H.D.Wilson. 


  • Wilson, Hugh D. (2002). Hinewai : the journal of a New Zealand naturalist. Christchurch: Shoal Bay Press Ltd. ISBN 1-877251-20-8. 
  • Wilson, Hugh (2009). Natural History of Banks Peninsula. Christchurch: Canterbury University Press. ISBN 978-1-877257-82-7.