Scion photography exhibition celebrates 75 years of impact


Source: Scion

A new photography exhibition is taking visitors to Te Whare Nui o Tuteata on a trip down memory lane of research and innovation at Scion.

In April 2022 the Crown Research Institute (CRI) turned 75 and, as part of a series of events across the year marking the special milestone, staff have dug deep into the archives to celebrate the people and research activity that have shaped Scion’s history of impact in New Zealand’s forestry sector.

Eight photos are on display in an intimate gallery space in Scion’s Rotorua building, Te Whare Nui o Tuteata until April 2023. They are a visual record of Scion’s research expertise and offer insights into the methods and equipment used over the years by scientists exploring radiata pine productivity, site mapping, tree genetics and nursery management – all work that has helped to create New Zealand’s third largest export industry.

Snapshots taken in the field, from the sky and inside Scion’s laboratories transport visitors back in time and serve as a reminder of how technology, fashion and architectural trends have changed over many decades.

Scion’s chief executive Dr Julian Elder says the exhibition has sparked animated conversations and special memories for existing staff and Scion alumni.

“Much like their treatment of a treasured family album, our staff have enjoyed curating this exhibition and taken pleasure in poring over dozens of images pulled from our archives.

“It’s been a chance to reminisce about the hundreds of people who have contributed to Scion’s research over the years and reflect on the many changes at our site near Whakarewarewa Forest where we have been building our reputation as forestry science leaders since 1947.

“For a long time, our site was behind closed gates, but with Te Whare Nui o Tuteata we have a new space to share our activity with the public. We invite everyone to visit our exhibition to take in some special moments in time, recorded on film.”

Visitors are welcome to pick up a bookmark with images from the exhibition as a memento.

Since 1947, Scion’s expertise has grown from research to support the development of sustainably managed exotic plantation forests to supporting New Zealand’s transition to a circular bioeconomy. In this new era, Scion remains committed to enhancing New Zealand’s prosperity, wellbeing and environment through trees.

The 75th anniversary has provided the CRI with fresh opportunities to share its work with the community and invite visitors into Te Papa Tipu campus, where Scion is headquartered in Rotorua.

A part of that has been acknowledging the past and celebrating Scion’s relationship with the three hapū who are the tangata whenua of the 114-hectare site where Scion is located: Ngāti Hurungaterangi, Ngāti Taeotu and Ngāti Te Kahu.

In August, the three hapū signed a Kawenata / Memorandum of Understanding with Scion which is a governance-level partnership agreement. The three hapū and Scion also launched a new permanent visitor display in the atrium of Te Whare Nui o Tuteata. Co-funded by Scion and Te Uru Rākau, New Zealand Forest Service it shares the history and connection that Ngā Hapū e Toru have to the whenua, while also explaining the significance of forestry science and innovation to New Zealand and the world. The photo exhibition extends the creative storytelling experience.

Anniversary celebrations will continue in 2023. Scion will host a Symposium on the Transition to a Circular Bioeconomy in Wellington on February 22. This will bring together policy thinkers and influencers to stimulate discussion that can help shape a future circular bioeconomy for New Zealand.

On April 1, the public is invited to attend an Open Day at Scion in Rotorua. Aimed at the whole family, it will feature public talks, tours of Te Whare Nui o Tuteata, a movie on The Oval, rock hunt in the forest and science activities for the kids.