DrDonWalnut_2009This award is named in honour of the late Dr Don McKenzie, who died tragically in a motor car accident in 1988.

Dr Don as he was known to many, was one of the founding members of the Association and worked for the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.  His interests ranged over a great number of different crops, but his special interest was apples, and his contribution to that industry was considerable.  The ‘connoisseur’ apples that are now grown by apple lovers throughout New Zealand are a collection of Dr Don’s old-time favourites.

The trophy is a walnut dug from a ‘brown’ coalfield in what was formerly West Germany.  It is thought to be between 8 and 9 million years old and was presented to Dr Don in 1983 when he attended a World Seminar in Germany.  He in turn donated it to the Association.

Now mounted in an epoxy block, this handsome trophy is awarded annually to a member who has made a ‘significant contribution to Tree Crops.’

  • 2023 Bob and Ann Phillips (Nelson) for their time, effort and love into local Nelson Branch and at a national level.
  • 2021 Peter Fraser, (Waikato) for his long and extensive contribution to NZTCA.
  • 2020 John and Jackie Thirkettle (Nelson) for their contributions in propagating new plant material, particularly for honeyberry (haskap) trials.
  • 2019 Sharon Watt (Bay Of Plenty) for her role as Tree Crops website manager.
  • 2018 Bill and Elizabeth Rae (Bay Of Plenty) for significant contributions to NZTCA. Bill has served on the national Management Committee as North Island Vice President and National President, and at Branch level as Chair of the Bay Of Plenty branch. Elizabeth served as BOP Branch Chair and Secretary.
  • 2017 Andrew and Jennifer Hutson (Wellington-Horowhenua), for significant contributions to NZTCA, Andrew was National Treasurer and Secretary and Jennifer was Patron
  • 2016 Sheryn Dean (Waikato) for 11 years as editor of the TreeCropper magazine.
  • 2015 Dick Endt, so much of his life pursuing the betterment of our tree-cropping understanding.
  • 2014 John Dean, a fountain of hard-won tree-cropping knowledge and decades of priceless service in all aspects of tree-cropping.
  • 2013 Otto Muller, for his walnut research and long generous services to tree croppers, especially Otago Central branch.
  • 2012 Peter Syms, Nelson Branch stalwart, heritage apples, cold-hardy tagasaste, and nut services.
  • 2011 Chris Ryan for long-term dedication to trees and tree crops, plant pathology, propagation, arboreta, plant skills training and Hawkes Bay Branch.
  • 2010 Gordon Lees for his research benefiting all NZTCA members, and fruit growers throughout New Zealand.
  • 2009 Nick Nelson-Parker for his contributions, especially to our knowledge of walnuts.
  • 2008 Jenny Lawrence for her pursuit of edible tree crops, nuts, and walnuts in particular.
  • 2007 Murray Redpath for his enduring efforts with Hazelnuts.
  • 2006 Mark Christensen for his significant Apples and Cancer Research
  • 2005 David Murdoch for the development of walnuts and hazelnuts.
  • 2004 Les Gruebner for the Tree Crops web site, the communications breakthrough.
  • 2003 Jim Dunckley for his work with apple cultivars and as a long-standing newsletter editor.
  • 2002 Gail Newcomb for her work as Technical Editor in researching and writing “Tree Crops in NZ – Basic Crops” and the updating of the Fact Sheets (Crop Guides).
  • 2001 Roy Hart, for his excellent work in research and development of various Tree Crops.
  • 2000 Eric Cairns for his work as President of the Association, contribution to fig research and articles promoting tree cropping in ‘The Straight Furrow’.
  • 1999 Mike Smith, for his work promoting the benefits of tree cropping to the environment.
  • 1998 Ian Gordon, for development of new macadamia cultivars, and work with Maori land owners.
  • 1997 Maurice Denton, for his work as President of the Association and editor of The Tree Cropper.
  • 1996 Louis Trap, for his research in sub-tropical species and pine nuts.
  • 1995 Gordon Atkinson, for his work promoting mixed woodlots and alternative timber species.
  • 1994 Jim Peele, for his contribution to the Association’s Great Fruit and Nut Tree Search Project.
  • 1993 Dick Roberts, horticultural photographer.
  • 1992 Phil Gardner, for his contribution to Tree Cropping and bananas.
  • 1991 Vernon Harrison, for services to walnut research.
  • 1990 Owen Long, for services to pecan research.
  • 1989 Guy Goldsbrough, for his promotion of hazelnuts, chestnuts and walnuts as viable crops.
  • 1988 Hamish Deans, for his outstanding work in the development of hazelnuts as a commercial industry.
  • 1987 Rex Baker, for his unceasing efforts in establishing a fledgling walnut industry.
  • 1986 Tom Dinning, for his interest in hazels and services as National Secretary.
  • 1985 Bernard Vavasour, for research and development of walnuts.

Gratitude must also be paid to the support teams of all the above – the long-serving spouses, partners, families and friends who make our gains achievable – thank you.

Further Reading and Considerations

Benefits of Joining
Joining – to become a member of NZTCA