There are many references to pioneer, geologist, natural scientist and medical doctor Dr James Hector throughout the Wellington Botanic Gardens.
This monument (pictured) dedicated specifically to Hector, first manager of the gardens, was funded by the Friends of the Wellington Botanic Gardens group. It features steps leading to a cairn with poles of timber surrounding the structure, representing a climb or struggle, achievement and growth.
Hector was originally employed to inspect the Kelburn site, but was made manager of the gardens on their opening in 1869. He went on to develop the city's gardens with the New Zealand Institute (now known as the Royal Society of New Zealand) for 22 years.
He also held several other official roles, including Chancellor of the University of New Zealand, and was knighted for distinguished services to science in 1886. Hector's memorial is located in the Pinetum, where various breeds of pine tree have been planted, and can be reached from the Mariri Rd entrance.
His vision for the Botanic Gardens went beyond aesthetic enjoyment to include scientific and economic development. Hector oversaw trials of timber species within the gardens, bringing the most common timber of New Zealand - pinus radiata - to industrial attention.
The James Hector Memorial Lookout was unveiled in 2004, the same year the gardens were registered with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.
- Sources: Friends of the Wellington Botanic Garden, New Zealand Historic Places Trust.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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