Curator Update




“Eastwoodhill, the product of a labour of love on the part of one man and his helper and it is especially pleasing to see that love being furthered by the efforts of so many today……set aside by an Act of Parliament for the scientific and educational purposes and for enjoyment by the people of New Zealand……I hope the beauty of the arboretum and its purpose will inspire many other to subscribe to the endowment in particular and to many projects which continually arise…” H.B. Williams circa 1997 excerpt found in the epilogue of ‘A Man’s Tall Dream – The Story of Eastwoodhill’ by John Berry.

 Starting a new job is always full of unknowns that are clarified through intrepid interactions and conversations. There are often exciting discoveries that lead to influences that you never expected to experience and with just two whole months in as Curator, all of these encounters are true here at Eastwoodhill.  However, the enormous sense of welcome and ease of finding my feet can be attributed to the Board and of course our wonderful staff.  A huge thank you to Marion, Margot, Dan, Adam, Anthea and the evergreen Gorky.

 Understanding what we have, what we can do and how we will do it is at the forefront on mind for me currently.  I placed the quotation from H.B. Williams at the start of this report as its core message is as true today as it was 20 years ago.  It’s a common phrase throughout international sport ‘I’m only wearing the shirt for now, if I can pass it on with the respect in which I received it and have done positive things to promote it…..objective achieved’ and, as I slip into this XL sized metaphor, we have some fabulous foundations to build upon.  Many organisations struggle to achieve meaningful or tangible aims, objectives and mission statements etc. to assist in their delivery and outcomes.  The Eastwoodhill Act of 1975 so simply defines our purpose to maintain, improve and educate, supported with our mission statement and vision around the Arboreal Ark concept and Masterplan.  In many aspects this makes our outlook simple, however simple is not always cheap or feasible due to constraints such as finances, funding and our internal resources. This is a challenge that will take some period of time rectify, however our unique collection and location gives us an abundance of opportunity that will not only maintain, improve and educate, it will provide a platform to thrive in a financially sustainable entity.  Being open to opportunities, partnerships and suggestions from any individual, organisation or company, we would like to hear from any interested parties who may wish to contribute or work with us.

 Our collection of trees is our point of difference meaning the Arboreal Ark concept is as valid today as it was when it gave Douglas Cook a sense of foreboding.  The value and ability of the collection on a global scale will never be truly be recognised until it is required to assist in a repatriation planting scheme in a native/natural habitat.  Ensuring that all our biota and their native geographic regions are aware of us and our potential to assist will be a continual focus for us.  To maximise this potential we will start a new round of individual inspection validation of the entire collection, a complete re-validation was last completed about nine years ago.  This will require new data collection software, based around the current data and getting out through the collection to understand fully what has happened in the past nine years.  It is an ambition to make this data available via a mapping application freely available for all to view on-line, something which most other arboreta do very well.  Once validated, connecting the importance of the collection with any end user will again allow the collection to work for us and generate further revenue.  The education and research opportunities within the collection and the site as whole will be another focus for us.  The collection data will allow us to review and manipulate data for many important projects. 

The Eastwoodhill 100-year Masterplan turns 10 this year and progress will continue to align the re-order of the collection to the WWF eco-regions and eco-zones.  The first section of the link road has been achieved via the pine tree removal from Big Hill and the subsequent positioning of the link road will now begin to be mapped out.

Recognition and huge thanks is due for Dan Taylor and the sterling work he has done acting as Curator.  Over the past year so many projects have been completed that have had a positive outcome for the arboretum.  Dan also received regular advice from the Curatorial Advisory Committee consisting of Peter Jackman (EWH board member and past Chair), David Sole of Wellington Botanical Gardens, Dylan Norfield of Dunedin Botanical Gardens and Paul Wynan (Ex-Curator of EWH) of Treescape.  This collective have assisted significantly over the past 18 months, a massive thanks to them and their employers for allowing them time to help EWH, it really has been very much appreciated.

In summary, the foundations are set, the direction is clear, the opportunity is abundant and the outcomes will advance the arboretum to be a global resource, nationally recognised and treasured locally.  It’s a privilege and honour to wear the shirt!


Martin Weaver






 Eastwoodhill is looking forward to the arrival of their new Curator Martin Weaver. After some months of searching for the right person, Martin happened to have already relocated to Gisborne and was in search of the perfect job for his extensive experience in trees and horticulture.

Growing up in Gloucestershire, England, Martin connected to trees and woodlands from a young age.  He was a frequent visitor of the the Royal Forest of Dean and the diverse surrounding woodlands throughout the county.  After completing school,, Martin enrolled with Hartpury College to begin studying Woodland Management, and Conservation and Wildlife Habitat Management.  Three years later at the University of Wales in Bangor, Martin started a four-year degree course in Forestry.  It was in the third secondment year of his course that piqued his interest in Urban Forestry and the management of large tree stocks in the amenity arboriculture sector.  Primarily tasked with tree safety inspections and contractor management, the opportunity to work with differing species in various environments throughout the County of Buckinghamshire would serve invaluable for Martin and his career. 

Soon after graduation Martin started his career with Torbay Council (Devon) as a Arboricultural Technician and developed a knowledge of mass tree database, tree safety inspections and management techniques.  This was expanded on during his position of Arboricultural Officer for Teignbridge District Council and Devon County Council.  A diverse and new role that required the entire publicly owned tree asset to be inspected and digitally captured for the district.  It also required Martin operate as a professional liaison to Devon County Council for tree safety inspections adjacent to major highways, contract creation and legal assistance.  After nearly five years in this position Martin sought a personal and meaningful change to work in education on the importance of tree protection and suitable tree planting provision in the urban realm.  The role of Product Manager for Geosynthetics, a company that provides inspired solutions for civil engineers, became available, requiring someone who could educate on the environmental requirements for trees.  This focus was around the need for tree root protection and provision in the engineered environment.  The education was delivered to civil engineers, landscape architects and all other related disciplines via seminars and presentations.  Martin joined the Tree Design and Action Group ( ) a not-for-profit organisation and assisted with the publications Trees in the Townscape and Trees in Hard Landscapes.

In 2013 Martin and his wife Lindsay made the move to New Zealand and Martin began working for the Auckland Council as the Arboriculture and Landscape Advisor for the Northern Sector of Parks, covering the geographical area between Devonport and Orewa.  With a strong customer and contract focus the role functioned similarly to that of his roles working for Local Authorities in the UK.  Arborlab (New Zealand's largest independent arboriculture consultancy) approached Martin to join their Management Team to assist with expansion and building his business acumen to foster existing relationships and the development of new business. A similar role followed for Asplundh (tree contractors) in 2016.

In 2017 Martin and his family (wife Lindsay, son Arthur aged 3, and Ted, chocolate Labrador aged 11) chose to leave a nomadic rental lifestyle in Auckland and put some firm roots down in Gisborne.  Lindsay secured a job working for the Gisborne District Council and Martin began his favourite career choice of 'daddy day care' for Arthur. Lindsay is very keen gardener and artist, Arthur loves dinosaurs and Thomas the Tank Engine and Ted is a typical Labrador and enjoys food...constantly.  When 'permitted' Martin enjoys golf and watching rugby.

After eight months living in Gisborne caring for Arthur, Martin took a role as Cemeteries Team Leader also at the GDC until he saw the position of Curator at Eastwoodhill become available which he saw to be a dream opportunity based on his passion for trees and work experience.

Martin and his family will remain living in central Gisborne and he will travel to Ngatapa each day as his family are well settled into life in central Gisborne now. The Plant Collection specialist Dan Taylor will move into Douglas Cook’s Homestead over winter to look after it. Autumn is just on the way and by May 13th when Martin starts his new position, his first vision will be the beautiful colour of Autumn that Eastwoodhill is so famous for.






From where I am sitting on the back lawn at the homestead, gazing across Wee Flat to the young Tree Cathedral plantings on Little Flat, the thought that goes through my mind is how wonderful that the developing trees of the Cathedral (Redwood, Dawn redwood, Linden, Ginkgo, Red Maple) have put on an impressive amount of healthy growth over the previous two years. Out of a total 135 trees there has been just one casualty - a Sequoia, which has been replaced. The Redwoods (Sequoia-single clone) which form the central pillars, quarter the size of the other species when planted, have now uniformly caught up in height and will soon be the dominant species. Dan Taylor has done a great job training and tending the juvenile trees which are looking excellent.

We have enhanced the beauty of the entrance drive with more plantings of flowering trees and shrubs such as Camellias, Magnolias and their relatives. Three recently purchased Magnolia campbellii ‘Rob Bayly’ have special significance to the history of Eastwoodhill. We prioritised planting a large number of trees and shrubs this season. Approximately 400 were planted—the target was 500 which was reduced because of watering requirements by staff during the coming summer. Many of the potted trees which languished in the shade house for years are still remarkably healthy. They have been chosen for rarity, ecozone replacement or erosion control. The bareroot trees came from Appleton’s trees (in exchange for seed collecting). Other trees were propagated by myself (some by Dan Taylor) or sourced from various nurseries/collectors. Cabbage Tree Avenue had a few casualties last year and has now been replanted. All ten Wollemi pines are thriving (two replaced), so here’s hoping.

The playground continues to be very popular with families, young and old alike! A fresh protective layer of bark has been spread on the ground around the playing structures for health and safety purposes. Several new plantings have been added to enhance the beauty of the area and to try and stabilise the relatively steep slopes. The tubular slide, which is still under warrantee, required a malfunctioning section to be replaced which has been completed. New outdoor lights designed by Dan King at Architects 44 have been installed either side of the playground access ramp-they look beautiful shining up into the trees.

The Eastwoodhill phone and computer systems have been completely upgraded and are operated under a rental system from Paul at Business Applications. Every 3-4 years the computers will be upgraded. The phones are running on a VOIP system through the internet which necessitated us to purchase a generator to run the system in case of emergencies as we don’t have cell coverage at the arboretum.

There have and will be a few enhancements within the Homestead Garden area. The first is the upgrade and positioning of new high-quality hardwood Lutyens style garden seats which will replace the old Douglas Cook totara bench seats which have deteriorated beyond repair and comfort. Three out of a possible five each with bronze memorial plaques have been donated and installed. The second upgrade is the Sundial which had also deteriorated beyond repair. A new similar Sundial has been purchased and will be positioned on the same site along with renewing the circular concreted area immediately surrounding it. A poem originally carved onto the side of the original Sundial has been re-etched onto a square of granite by Colin/Gavin at Baystones/Evans Funeral services. This will be set within the concrete in close proximity to the sundial. A big thank you to them for donating the plaque/stone and kindly supporting Eastwoodhill.

The Propagation House/Greenhouse is basically finished with just the plumbing/misting system and fan to be added. We have been utilising the new potting benches for potting and propagation (grafting, cuttings and seed sowing) already. This building is a huge asset for EWH, the staff and for education in the future and built to last for at least the next 100 years. A bronze plaque has been made thanking the Sir John Logan Campbell Residuary Estate and the Marjorie Redstone Trust for funding the project. It is encouraging that several plants/trees have been shared with other arboreta/collectors already and we have also sold some propagated trees and potted bulbs. This should increase exponentially.

From a health and safety point of view we had a fire scare during this past summer. Due to diligent attention being given to the firefighting equipment and processes by the staff we were able to avert disaster from Roger Dickie’s pine forest and consequently the Eastwoodhill Arboretum.

Visitations by myself, sometimes with other staff members, have been made to other arboreta, plant collections, nurseries and Botanic Gardens around New Zealand. Similarly, we have hosted many representatives from the botanical community.  These visitations have been very fruitful in forming meaningful relationships. This sharing of information and ideas will improve Eastwoodhill’s profile in the botanic sphere as a leader in plant conservation and as an arboreal ark. We are part of the BGANZ network which has signed an MOU with DOC relating to NZ Plant Conservation which will also be interesting to be a part of. Eastwoodhill is sited in an excellent remote situation for isolation purposes in regard to tree and plant health.

We have spent time discussing with stakeholders exciting new possibilities such as cycle trails, summer events, Native plant conservation, google mapping of the arboretum tracks, tree database upgrades and the possible herbarium transfer to Auckland Museum.

BGANZ held an open day on May 28th 2017 (end of autumn season) which was a free day for anyone to come out and enjoy the splendour of Eastwoodhill. Over 350 people visited, with their umbrellas as it was a bit rainy. They enjoyed the playground, ambiance of trees, birds, vistas, mist, and the fresh damp earth aroma after rain. Pru did a great job selling drinks and food at the café. Nice to see families from Gisborne who wouldn’t normally frequent the arboretum really loving it.

I had Input into an article RNZIH-NZ Garden Journal written by Murray Dawson (botanist, Landcare Research) concerning the Chilean Mayten tree as a weed species in NZ. I’ve also sent a list of all conifers growing at Eastwoodhill (317 species and varieties-does not include cultivars) to Clayson Howell (Science advisor, Department of Conservation). He was compiling a checklist of all known conifers in NZ.

This year a decision was made by myself and the Trust Board to change EWH’s graphic design and marketing supplier as it was felt that the previous company had stagnated and Eastwoodhill needed a boost of enthusiasm and ideas. We chose Dave Raggett and Rose Hutchings of Draggnett design in Gisborne for our graphic design services as they are a local company and produced an excellent proposal. Dave is in the process of redesigning all of our adverts, maps, road signs, and website etc.  In turn Draggnett work with and recommended Georgina Kemp to act as our Marketing Manager. She has already (with Dave and Rose), in a short space of time, enhanced Eastwoodhill’s profile by targeting and adjusting our media placements ie social media and adverts etc. Georgie and myself hosted and presented, with a tour of EWH, a Massey University associated group of American marketing students, who were traveling around NZ visiting charitable trusts and completing their trip with short placements in Wellington. Georgie will also assist Marion and myself with grant applications to the larger funding Trusts.

We became a ‘Motu Trails official partner business’ at the end of last year. We are on the Rere Falls Trail, a New Zealand Cycle Trail (NZCT) ‘Heartland Ride’. Last October, Motu trails held a fundraiser ride between Motu & the Jolly Stockman, which passed through the Arboretum. Great to see families enjoying the day and the scenery. Sadly, a few weeks after organizing the event, Richard Coates passed away. He will be greatly missed by all of us at Eastwoodhill. In Richards memory, a seat with a commemorative plaque to be located in the Homestead Garden has been donated by the Gisborne Cycle & Walkway Trust.

Funding has been granted from Marjorie Redstone Trust, Tennyson Charitable Trust, J & T Hickey Charitable Trust, J N Williams Memorial Trust, HB Williams Turanga Trust, Mangatawa Beale Williams Memorial Trust, Sunrise Foundation and the Lion Foundation. The funding has gone towards new umbrellas in the courtyard, a drinking fountain, the Greenhouse, a smart phone camera, and general running and utilities costs. Marion, Monique and I have attended funding meetings and met with several funders discussing what grants are available to Eastwoodhill and how we go about applying. Thank you to all of our funders and stakeholders who have donated/granted funds to Eastwoodhill, or given valuable time and effort. Without these generous contributions, it would be difficult or impossible to operate as an arboretum, open to the public for their enjoyment.

During the Friends of Eastwoodhill AGM we were pleased to see new faces volunteering to become committee members- Carole Green, Melody Craw, Sandy MacHugh and Kay Williams. We were also sad to see two long time gardeners/caterers leaving. Jocelyn Grant and Betty Hair, but on the plus side there are several new keen gardeners-- Pat, Mary and Sue.

Sadly, during the year our talented arborist Jan Grzeda passed away and will be greatly missed. We have been blessed in finding Menno Kluiters who is experienced and equally talented and is happy to be our on-call arborist for advice and emergencies. Menno has just completed a Health and Safety assessment of the roadside trees. Andrew Harrison, Rob Graham, John Walford, Craig Lamb, Elliot Fitzjohn – lecturers from Wintec and their students - made two excursions down to us at Eastwoodhill in October-November 2016, to train their students in arboriculture and at the same time help us with maintaining the trees in good condition.

Thanks to Marion, Margot, Monique, Adam and Dan for doing an excellent job keeping the Arboretum and surrounds in as good a state as resources allow and for being cheerful and interactive, nice and neat and clean and tidy. Thanks to all of our lovely volunteers who cater, garden and donate plants, man the shop and do all sorts of other helpful necessary stuff. Thanks also to Tama and the Community Service personnel he looks after twice a week – they do a tremendous number of helpful tasks around the arboretum. We were also fortunate to have around 15 Wwoofers/HelpX people stay in the accommodation and work with us during the past year, from NZ and overseas.


Thank you to the EWH Trustees.

Dan Haliday







Spring 2013

Summer 2012

Autumn 2012

Spring 2011

Autumn 2011