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Halswell Quarry Park Track renamed

29 July 2005

The newly built Halswell Quarry Park Track is to be renamed the John Taylor Walkway in remembrance of a renown Christchurch horticulturalist, teacher and dedicated Rotarian who died on Tuesday.

The Councillors stood in a minute’s silence at the Council meeting yesterday to pay their respects to Mr Taylor, a former assistant curator of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens whose name was synonymous with horticulture and parks in the Christchurch urban and surrounding areas.

In 2001, the City Council’s award for services to the environment was presented to John Taylor, who joined the Christchurch Botanic Gardens as a 15-year-old trainee and later studied horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens and Kew Gardens in England, and the equally prestigious Arnold Arboretum, and New York Botanical Gardens.

Mr Taylor was also much loved by his students as a senior lecturer at Lincoln University – helping set up the Parks and Recreation Administration course. He was examiner and national moderator for oral and practical exams for the Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture, and was a president of the Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture.

He had also been president of the Kew Guild, president of the Canterbury Horticulture Society and coordinator of the New Zealand Garden Exhibit at Expo 90 in Japan. He was a key figure in establishing the Friends of the Christchurch Sister Cities’ Gardens at the Halswell Quarry Park and was awarded the MBE for services to horticulture and parks administration in 1979.

As a dedicated member of the Rotary Club Christchurch South, he and his fellow Rotarians from Christchurch South helped build the walkway that now bears his name this year - the centennial year for Rotary International.

Mayor Garry Moore said at the Council meeting today that John’s passion for the city was evident to the end as he was still receiving emails from John on horticultural projects he wanted finished at the weekend.

Councillor Graham Condon said that such Christchurch icons as Mr Taylor needed proper recognition in the history of the city with their photographs or names displayed in an appropriate place of honour. The Council agreed that the Stronger Communities Portfolio Group should further investigate a suitable place where such people could be remembered in the city.

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