Trevor James wins Peter Ingram Award

Trevor James is this year’s recipient of the Peter Ingram Memorial Award. Here is a summary of Paul Champoin’s presentation speech to Trevor. The nomination is a combination of information supplied by Ian Popay, Anis Rahman, Wendy Mead, Carolyn Lewis and Paul Champion.

Trevor joined the weeds team of the DSIR at Ruakura in early 1974.

The weeds team, nationally, was big back then, with most staff in the Soil and Field Research Section.

Trevor had joined a large vibrant weed research community, which was never to be as strong again. The organisation that brought together many of these disparate elements was the Weed and Pest Control Society. Back then the chemical companies also carried out and were happy to report on their research into new herbicides, new crops and new problem weeds.

Over the next 40 years Trevor’s career as a weed researcher developed, changing position from Technical Officer, to Research Associate and then Scientist, completing an MSc in Chemistry at Waikato University in 1995 and awarded his PhD in Soil Science at Massey in 2009.

Trevor presented his first paper at the Society’s conference at the Burma Motor Lodge in Johnsonville in 1977, a joint paper with Jennifer Hartley on control of musky storksbill in pasture.

Trevor soon became an indispensable part of the Weed and Pest Society, which became the NZ Plant Protection Society and ran or co-ordinated the annual conferences almost single-handedly as he still does. Additionally he has been a prolific researcher; a search on the NZPPS website yields a total of 235 results when you search for James, T.K. He became an influential member of the Society’s committee, starting in 1997 and culminating in his presidency in 2008-2010. He is still a committee member today. In about 2008 the Society joined the Council of Australasian Weed Societies (CAWS, formerly the Council of Australian Weed Societies) and in 2010, with Trevor in the lead, we ran the very first Australasian Weeds conference in Christchurch, three weeks after the first earthquake. Trevor subsequently became the President of CAWS for two years.

He is a much more recent addition to the NZ Biosecurity Institute but has been a major contributor to our Institute, generous of both his time and opinion.

His research has mostly dealt with weed control in primary production and more recently on conservation weeds, application and safe use of pesticides, pesticide fate and seed bank ecology.

His most recent research includes management of the up-and-coming pasture weed yellow bristle grass, identification of weed seeds and identification of plants introduced in contaminated coco peat and imported containers as a potential source of new weeds, and he became a multi-media star such was the interest in his discovery of the first glyphosate-resistant weeds in New Zealand.

Trevor is a huge support locally to the Waikato weed control community. If anyone wants a plant identified or has questions about control Trevor is available and is happy if we drop by his office. Trevor is a generous host to visitors wanting to look through his greenhouse where there is a collection of nasty plants and where some of his trial work is carried out.

Trevor has what I’m sure is the largest collection of weed photos in the country. There has been many an occasion when we have asked for a photo for various publications and Trevor has always generously provided one.

There have been many research projects Trevor has been involved in since I have known him. An example is the yellow bristle grass project where he has been a vital part of a community group’s efforts to learn more about this weed as well as promote awareness of it. Trevor produced the yellow bristle grass ‘ute guide’ which has been much in demand by Waikato farmers.

Most people will know Trevor as one of the authors of the three books Common Weeds; Grasses, Sedges and Rushes; and Seeds of New Zealand, being the principal author on the latter. His skill as a photographer really sells these books, nearly all the photos in these books were taken by Trevor. Trevor also did the lion’s share of organising the layout and printing of these books. These books are well used by the weed control community, gardeners and a multitude of others across the country, with the Common Weeds book being by far the best seller at Manaaki Whenua Press.

Trevor’s dedication to weed management, his selfless and tireless ability to pass on his knowledge to field staff make him an ideal recipient of the Peter Ingram Award.


The Peter Ingram Memorial Award

Peter Ingram was the pest plant coordinator at Environment Bay of Plenty. He had a passion for learning, shared his knowledge and discussed ideas and theories. He was especially encouraging of his team at Environment Bay of Plenty to take advantage of learning opportunities. Peter was a past president of the Institute of Noxious Plants Officers. The Peter Ingram Memorial Award is given to a member of the NZ Biosecurity Institute who has successfully undertaken or enabled others to achieve, relevant to pest plant education, control or management.