Home' The Wellingtonian : September 6th 2012 Contents 6 THE WELLINGTONIAN, SEPTEMBER 6, 2012
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Hard work pays off: Dr Dennis Gordon proudly displays the boxed set of the New Zealand Inventory of
Biodiversity in his office at NIWA's Wellington branch.
Photo: LYDIA ANDERSON
Hard work rewarded
By LYDIA ANDERSON
A leading Wellington scientist
was "flabbergasted" to be hon-
oured by his peers for more than
10 years worth of hard work.
Dennis Gordon received the
first NIWA Research Excellence
Award for compiling the three-
volume New Zealand Inventory
Ten awards were given out
across different categories at
NIWA's first Excellence Awards
dinner in Auckland recently.
Mr Gordon said he "couldn't
think of anything nicer" than
receiving such an award.
"We've got so many scientists
at NIWA who in my mind are far
more deserving than I am. It's
incredibly meaningful. Peer rec-
ognition is probably the most
important thing for a scientist."
For Mr Gordon, compiling the
catalogue meant working with
238 scientists from 19 different
countries to produce chapters on
each living and fossil species of
New Zealand's plants, animal,
fungi and micro-organisms.
He said the catalogue was an
important resource as a stock
take, particularly of species
endemic to New Zealand.
He launched the project at a
millennial symposium in 2000.
"Naively I thought, I'll have
one book after about a year'."
Volume one was published in
2009, volume two in 2010 and
volume three earlier this year.
He said it was challenging
finding authors to describe all
the groups of species, so he
wrote 11 chapters himself.
Getting illustrations for each
chapter was also a challenge, he
said. Historically, authors of sci-
ence literature did not illustrate
their discoveries of new species,
so it was time consuming finding
illustrations of some groups of
Mr Gordon said it was "a huge
relief" to finish the project.
The 67-year-old plans to focus
on his own particular marine
biology research, before official
retirement in "a few years time".
The boxed set of the New Zea-
land Inventory of Biodiversity is
already being made available to
New Zealand schools. It is also
available in selected Wellington
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