Richard John Nanson
Richard John Nanson commenced the role of Director of Parks and Recreation in 1986 after the sudden demise of his predecessor, Ian Galloway. He took up the role after the sudden demise of his predecessor, Ian Galloway.
He developed a keen interest in gardening at an early age and trained in horticulture in Christchurch Ōtautahi. He worked overseas for a period and then returned to Hamilton Kirikiriroa. In 1967, he joined Wellington City Council as deputy director for Parks and Reserves.
One of his key contributions in the deputy director role (1967 – 1986) was the construction of proposed Japanese Garden, also known as Peace Garden. The master plan for this work started in 1971 in accordance with the plan prepared by the Japanese Foreign Affairs Ministry. He worked closely with his manager, Ian Galloway, and several stakeholders, including Japanese architect Kenzo Ogata, in the early design and estimation of the garden. (Wellington City Council Archives, 00444-23/60/40 Part 1, p178 -191)
It was under his leadership that the comprehensive management plan for the Botanic Garden and Bolton Street Memorial Park was reviewed, consultation carried out with wider stakeholders, and finally presented in 1990. There was a similar management policy and operating plans in place in 1978 which highlighted the work that Parks and Reserves wanted to achieve in the next five years. (Wellington City Council Archives, 00444-4/53/5 Part 1, p330).
Like his predecessor, Robert was very keen on community involvement to promote the importance of the Garden. The idea of the Treehouse was based on its predecessor, the Interpretative Centre (1983 – 1987) which was located at the former Winding shed for the Cable Car. Both the Interpretative (also known as Interpretation Centre) and the Treehouse were designed for wider Park and Recreation departmental promotion as well as presenting capabilities and resources of the Garden to the public under his directorship the ‘Tree House’ was built over the Main Garden in 1991 (Wellington City Council Archives, 00277-140 (5/110), p8 -20).
The other significant achievement in his role as Director was the establishment of Friends of the Wellington Botanic Garden. He played a significant role in reaching out to ‘Friends’ organisation in Auckland Tamaki Makaurau and Dunedin Ōtepoti to learn about ‘Friends’ operations, membership rates and benefits. He also helped in drafting the constitution for ‘Friends’ in Wellington Pōneke. Finally, it was under his directorship that Friends of the Wellington Botanic Garden ki Paekākā was established in 1990. (Wellington City Council Archives, 00444-23/60/34 Part 1, p 348).
He was a recipient of Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for his dedicated services to horticulture in 2011.
Wellington City Council Archives, 00362-24-2