Auckland Zoo horticulture curator wins supreme award

Press Release – Landscaping New Zealand Awards
The Auckland Zoo curator of horticulture has won the supreme award at last weekend’s Landscaping New Zealand Landscapes of Distinction Awards.

Hugo Baynes was announced as the supreme award winner at a dinner in Hamilton.

The Landscapes of Distinction Awards is a biennial event that recognises excellence in the fields of landscape design, construction and maintenance, encompassing commercial and residential projects. It is open to fully-accredited members of Landscaping New Zealand.

Within the categories – Landscape Design, Landscape Construction, Landscape Horticulture and Garden Management – for large projects’ (more than $40,000) and small projects (under $40,000), entrants are awarded gold, silver and bronze. A project entered in more than one category may receive an award in each category.

Hugo Baynes’s work at the zoo’s large ecological habitat, Te Wao Nui, took top honours in three large project categories and the overall title of 2012 Landscaper of the Year. The overall award recognised consistency in quality and excellence throughout the planning, planting and maintenance of the indigenous areas – The Coast, The Islands, The Wetlands, The Forest and The High Country – that make up Te Wao Nui.

The award judges praised Hugo’s work at Te Wao Nui, home to more than 100 New Zealand plant species and around 60 animal species, saying it proves zoos can be much more than animals. Hugo has successfully integrated landscape design into a highly-public space, while ensuring a sense of intimacy and accessibility. His team has designed, planted and kept in order a commercial-scale garden so it doesn’t look maintained, but seems natural, especially with the use of native plants to soften animal enclosures and make for an interesting visual experience.

Adam Pollard, President of Landscaping New Zealand, says the awards are a great marketing opportunity for the winners and a huge showcase for the industry’s abilities and benchmarks.

“A lot of our projects are hidden away behind fences; this is a huge opportunity to market what we do and receive national recognition for gardens that are used every day and are not just on display for a show day.

“It is all about quality. The judges are looking for really good use of space and supreme quality of design, construction and planting. Hopefully the awards give the public inspiration as to what could be achieved in their own gardens, even if it is just one feature that can be picked out. But most importantly, the awards are about what our profession can do and the standards you should expect when employing a professional landscaper.”

The award entries were first assessed by the judges in portfolio form before they made site visits. This year’s judges were Renee Davies, Head of Dept, Landscape Architecture, at Auckland’s Unitec, Grant Eyre, a nursery manager and architect Richard Hart.

Category winners also recognised at the award ceremony were Pukerau Nursery, Southland; Strass Landscape Developers, Auckland; Goom Landscapes Ltd, Christchurch and Bark Ltd, Wellington.

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