This is largely finished and is due to go to the publisher (The Cuba Press) by the end of the month. It will be published in the later part of 2022.
The book, which starts with the pre-European settlement of the area, is a botanical/garden/local and social history. The Wiltons, the first settlers, preserved tracts of bush (the area was to be known as Wilton’s Bush). In later years Leonard Cockayne and John Gretton McKenzie, Wellington’s first Director of Parks and Reserves, were behind the development of the Otari Native Plant Museum. A succession of curators and gardeners have transformed it into the internationally renowned garden/reserve of today.
It will be heavily illustrated, with many archival photos sitting side by side with recently commissioned images by Wellington photographer Chris Coad.
25 October 2019
When The Australian Garden History Society holds their annual conference at the end of October (25th) I will be speaking on God, guns and gardens – missionary gardens in northern New Zealand.
This painting (the pa and mission station at Rangihoua in the Bay of Islands) is from my presentation.
10 June 2019
I am about to embark on a nationwide lecture tour for the New Zealand Decorative and Fine Arts Association!
Over the next three weeks I am giving 8 lectures, starting with Hawke’s Bay, Auckland, Hamilton this week, Wellington, Nelson and Blenheim next week Christchurch and Dunedin the following week.
My lecture is on Lady Painters – the intrepid flower painters of early New Zealand. This is most fitting as it is now exactly 20 years since Lady Painters, my first book, was published. It should be a lovely time.
The featured image on this page is Painting of a Chatham Island forget-me-not by Sarah Featon.
16 May 2019
The Plimmer Legacy – a family story from early Wellington to modern farming in the Rangitikei has now been published – my 18th book!
The Plimmer family had two wonderful book launches: one, on 16 May, in the woolshed on their Motukawa property near Taihape. This was a marvellous country affair, with about 250 family, neighbours and rural men and women of all persuasions assembling for a very fine woolshed lunch, a few drinks and some suitable speeches.
There was a second book launch at the Wellington Club the following week – a rather more corporate celebration (with a somewhat different dress code!) but no less enjoyable.
There’s an excellent writeup about the book on the Motukawa Land Co website and some photos of both book launches on the Motukawa Instagram page.
Overview of The Plimmer Legacy
I have an article on New Zealand’s contributions to botanical art in the April edition of the Australian Garden History Journal – AGH Vol. 30 No. 4 April 2019. The picture on the cover goes with the article so that’s rather good. Copies of the Journal can be purchased from the Australian Garden History Society website as a hard copy or a digital download.
My article is described as follows:
New Zealand’s contributions to botanical art by Bee Dawson
In the 18th and 19th centuries flower painting was considered to be a particularly desirable accomplishment for ladies. In New Zealand lady artists captured the beauty and the scientific details of the native wildflowers.
The Plimmer Legacy – a family story from early Wellington to modern farming in the Rangitikei is shortly to go to print. It’s beautifully illustrated with a mixture of archival images and photographs by Wellington photographer Chris Coad. The book is to be published by Penguin Random House at the end of April 2019.
29 October 2018
To mark the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of The University of the South Pacific this commemorative book, rich with stories and photographs from throughout the 50 year life of USP, has been produced. It is a must for anyone who has studied, worked or visited the University at any point in its long and fascinating history.
I have been on the editorial board for the book – which will be launched on the Laucala Bay campus in Fiji on 29 October.
Overview of A University for the Pacific
19 October 2018
A Career Less Ordinary – the book I wrote to celebrate 75 years of women in the RNZAF – has finally been published. It won’t appear in bookshops but will be sent to all schools and cadet forces.
Overview of A Career Less Ordinary
The launch of my new book celebrating 75 Years of Women in the RNZAF will be held within the next couple of months. Watch this space for more info.