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Guthrie Smith Trust

Year Started: 
Contact Person: 
George Christison (curator)
E-mail address: 
Group Members: 
Guthrie Smith Arboretum, 3561 State High way 2
Tutira, Napier
New Zealand

Herbert Guthrie-Smith was a remarkable New Zealander. Born in Scotland in 1861 he immigrated to NZ in 1880, and in 1882 commenced developing a 20,000 hectare property at Tutira in Hawke's Bay. During his lifetime he experienced the highs and lows of pastoral farming, and in the process observed and meticulously recorded every feature of his land and how it changed as a result of his farming activities. He became a committed conservationist. As a writer and photographer Herbert Guthrie-Smith's contribution to NZ has been a number of books, including "Tutira : Story of a New Zealand Sheep Station" which is regarded as a classic of international environmental literature. He also wrote many books as a result of his study of native birds and photography.

Herbert Guthrie-Smith died at Tutira in 1940, and in 1942 his only daughter Barbara Absolom gifted the 650 hectare property comprising the land around the lake together with the homestead and buildings to the Guthrie Smith Trust which administers it for the people of NZ as an educational and recreational facility.

In 1997 the trustees sold the majority of the land and retained 90 hectares and the buildings.
Today the Trust board is continuing his vision with the remaining 90 hectares.
The Trust is a registered Charitable Trust and the current Trustees are; David Allan (Chairman), Mike Halliday (Deputy Chairman), Chris Ryan, Terry Taaffe, Gretchen Absolom, Di Taylor, John Springford, Wendy Lawrence, Stuart Riden.

In 2001 the Trust began developing an Arboretum with the main theme being geographic area groupings of the main temperate forest zones from around the world.

A New Zealand section was begun in 2010 aided substantially by a Biodiversity fund grant from the Department of Conservation.
The NZ plantings consist of areas of both species collections(i.e. Podocarpus, Nothofagus, Kauri etc); and forest type (i.e. low-land broadleaved, lowland podocarp - broadleaved, semi swamp etc.

In addition to our NZ collection/restoration project there is the "Hanger". In 1896 Guthrie-Smith "shut the gate on this poor pastoral area covered in fern in order to observe the natural regeneration back to forest. For over 110 years this area has been left largely untouched by human intervention.

A long established Outdoor Education centre is also situated on the property which is used by schools from throughout the Central North lsland.

Environmental education is a key focus for the Guthrie Smith Trust.

The Outdoor Education Centre accomodation is available for those interested in viewing the Arboretum and surrounding attractions such as Boundary stream, (DOC mainland island) plus Opoahi Kiwi Creche.

Panpac, Charitable trusts, DOC, HBRC, Private individuals.
HBRC, Department of Conservation.