A rather odd memorial?

Seen in Warkworth, North Auckland. Image: Su Leslie 2018

My first thought on seeing this sign today was to wonder what transgression one might have to commit in order to be memorialised by a stormwater pond.

My second was “who was Lucy Moore?”

It turns out that the aforementioned pond is in Lucy Moore Memorial Park (not well sign-posted), and that Lucy Moore (1906-1987) was one of New Zealand’s foremost botanists.

Te Ara, the New Zealand Encyclopaedia says:

Lucy Moore was sometimes called ‘the mother of New Zealand botany’ and few botanists may ever again equal her range of expertise. She once recalled, ‘we were jacks, or jills, of many trades’. Much more than this, hers was a many-sided expertise, inspired by a vision, and practised with dedication.

Born on a farm near Warkworth, she attended Epsom Girls Grammar School and the University of Auckland, gaining a first-class MSc in 1929.

The same year she was awarded the Duffus Lubecki Scholarship, which she also received in 1930 and 1931 for further research. She began work in 1932 as a demonstrator in zoology at Auckland University College. — Te Ara

Unable to obtain a tenured academic position, Lucy Moore had a long career as a senior scientist with the DSIR (Department of Scientific and Industrial Research) — the government’s research institute.

She was a recipient of many honours. In 1945 she was elected a fellow of the exclusive Linnean Society of London. She was made an MBE in 1959, and in 1963 the University of Canterbury gave her its DSc for her Hebe research. A fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand from 1947, she was awarded its Hutton Memorial Medal in 1965. In the same year she delivered the Leonard Cockayne Memorial Lecture. In 1974 she was awarded the Sir Ernest Marsden Medal for Service to Science by the New Zealand Association of Scientists. — Te Ara

Lucy Moore retired to Warkworth to care for a sick brother in 1980, remaining active in local and environmental issues until her death in 1987.

I’m really glad to have found out about this amazing, pioneering woman, but a little surprised that the park signage offered so little information about the woman after which it was named.

16 thoughts on “A rather odd memorial?

  1. I’m glad too because just like you I wondered who that woman was when I read the text in your photo! Well done. It’s such a common thing that people (we all) just assume that others ‘know’ what we know.


  2. It is surprising that more info isn’t offered about what sounds like an incredible woman and her contribution to conservation. Also, I guess you could wonder why they named something like a “Stormwater Pond” after her. Something a bit more memorable seems fitting. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good catch, Su. I actually had to go back for a double-take on the photo because I missed her name completely the first time and only caught the Stormwater part. Guilty of selective reading!

    Reading the brief bio you’ve presented here, she really was quite remarkable. Consider that she did a Master in Science in 1929! This wouldn’t have been a warm and fuzzy time for women in advanced education …. not to mention her work in the years following. It couldn’t have been easy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: “The Garbo of the Skies” | Zimmerbitch

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