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NZ Plants

Current century


  • Varroa mite (Varroa destructor) is discovered on honey bees in Auckland and rapidly spreads throughout the North Island in the following years killing feral and untreated domestic bees. In 2006 it is found in the northern South Island. This affects pollination of kiwifruit, avocado and pumpkin crops. However, this frees the 40 species of native bees from competition, as they are not affected by the mite.
  • Establishment of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park (replacing the maritime park set up in 1969) to integrate management of the islands, coastline and waters of the gulf. This encompasses 47 islands and 2000 km of coastline including the wetlands of the Firth of Thames .
  • Flora of New Zealand Vol V: Grasses, by E. Edgar and H.E. Connor, is published by Manaaki Whenua Press.
  • Dancing Leaves, The story of New Zealand's cabbage tree, tī kōuka by Philip Simpson is published by University of Canterbury Press.


  • ‘Sudden decline' of the cabbage tree is confirmed to be caused by the native organism, Phytoplasma australiense, in a media release by Landcare Research. This is the same organism that causes flax yellow leaf disease and dieback and death in mamaku (Cyathea medullaris), pūriri (Vitex lucens) and kōhūhū (Pittosporum tenuifolium).
  • As a result of action by conservationists, 50% of New Zealand's remaining native forest is now held within the West Coast. With the transfer of forest managed by- Timberlands to the Department of Conservation, 90% of the region's land is now managed by this government department.
  • Mokoia Island Wildlife Refuge in Lake Rotorua is predator free. The forest is allowed to regenerate, consisting of mostly understory species with some gullies containing taller trees with a closed canopy.
  • Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Conservation Park centred in the Torlesse and Big Ben Ranges in Canterbury's high country opens. This contains 21,000 ha of snow tussock and high altitude grassland, mountain beech, shrubs and herbs.


  • Rakiura National Park, New Zealand's 14th National Park is established, consisting of 157,000 ha of podocarp/hardwood forest, grassland, alpine and coastal communities on Stewart Island.
  • The Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust is established. Within four years a 47 km pest-proof fence is completed that encloses 3,400 ha around Mt Maungatautari located 30 km south east of Hamilton and pest eradication commences.
  • The New Zealand Native Forest Restoration Trust now has 22 reserves with a total of 5,600 ha.
  • Meanings and Origins of Botanical Names of New Zealand Plants by Marie Taylor is published by the Auckland Botanical Society.


  • New Zealand population reaches 4,000,000 people.
  • The New Zealand Plant Conservation Network (NZPCN) is founded to protect and restore indigenous plants, their habitats and associated species.
  • Extraction of essential oils from mānuka (Leptospermum scoparium) for domestic and overseas markets has now increased to 10 tonnes per year. Attention is focused upon an East Cape variety with outstanding antibiotic properties.
  • Te Papanui Conservation Park in the Lammermoor and Lammerlaw Ranges west of Dunedin opens. It consists of 21,000 ha of indigenous tussock and grassland.


  • Ahuriri Conservation Park is established. It is located about 50 km west of the Omarama township of Central Otago and consists of 49,000 ha of alpine, wetland, tussock and beech forest communities.
  • Kiwifruit now represents 30% of all horticultural exports and represents 25% of world production of this fruit.
  • Horizon2 is created by the merger of CHH Forest Genetics and Rubicon's Trees and Technology facilities. This brings together forestry nursery and biotechnology programmes with nursery facilities throughout the central North Island, Nelson and Victoria, Australia.
  • Seashore Ecology of New Zealand and the Pacific by John Morton is published.
  • Biotech company Genesis Research establishes experimental tract of shrubby willow (Salix scherwinii and S.viminalis) around Lake Taupo as a source of ethanol and other organics of potential commercial use. BioJoule Technologies is established.


  • Molesworth Station in the northeastern portion of the South Island becomes a recreation reserve administered by the Department of Conservation. A property of the Crown since 1941, it is New Zealand's largest farm (180,000ha) and contains many endangered plants and animals.
  • The Eyre Mountains/Taka Ra Haka Conservation Park is established. Located southwest of Lake Wakatipu between the mountains of Fiordland and the dry landscape of Central Otago it contains 65,160 ha of alpine communities, snow tussock and beech forest and many endemic plants.
  • Queen Elizabeth II Trust now has over 2,000 open space covenants on more than 70,000 ha and has more than 5,000 members nation wide.
  • Scion Crown Research Institute, formerly known as Forest Research (FRI) is founded. Levels of activity are commercial forestry R&D, biomaterials and sustainable consumer products. The herbarium, now with over 2,000 specimens of vascular plants, becomes the National Forestry Herbarium (NZFRI).
  • Pohutukawa and Rata, New Zealand's iron-hearted trees by Philip Simpson is published by Te Papa Press.


  • Using satellite imagery information collected between 1999-2003, Landcare Research EcoSat forest maps reveal that 24.8% of New Zealand's land area is indigenous forest and 7.7% in exotic forests.
  • Biosecurity New Zealand reports the presence of Phytophthora kernoviae in dying kauri trees in Northland.
  • The Waitakere Ranges, Nature, History and Culture, edited by Bruce and Trixie Harvey is published by the Waitakere Ranges Protection Society. This is a comprehensive treatment of this extensive Regional Park to the west of Auckland.
  • Farming of New Zealand: the People and the Land by Gordon McLauchlan is published by Penguin Publishers.
  • Eagle's Complete Trees and Shrubs of New Zealand by Audrey Eagle is published by Te Papa Press. This represents a compendium of all illustrations published since 1975.
  • Hebe, by M.J. Bayly and A.V. Kellow is published by Te Papa. This is the first comprehensive coverage of the genus since publication of the Flora of New Zealand Vol.1 in 1971.
  • Ghosts of Gondwana by George Gibbs is published by Craig Potton, Nelson. This examins evolutionary evidence for the origins of animals and plants, the Oligocene submergence and that most plants are of comparatively recent origin.


  • The Great Sacred Forest of Tane by Alan Clarke is published by Reed. This covers the origin and uses of New Zealand's flora.