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Alick (Lindsay) Poole


CBE B(For)Sc Auck MSc NZ HonDSc Cantuar FRSNZ AHRIH


Lindsay Poole FRSNZ

Lindsay Poole FRSNZ


Lindsay Poole was born on 4 March 1908 at Whatatutu (Poverty Bay) and attended school in Rotorua and Auckland. He commenced work in the New Zealand State Forest Service nursery in 1926 as a trainee and in the following year was awarded a scholarship of 100 pounds per year to attend the Auckland University College Forestry School, from which he graduated in 1930 in the midst of the Great Depression. During the next seven years Lindsay was employed as a student labourer in the Forest Service, a nursery manager, a quartermaster in unemployment camps, a deer culler in the Urewera and an ecological surveyor in Westland.

In 1937 there was still no permanent employment available for foresters in the Forest Service and so Lindsay joined the Botany Division of the DSIR where, until the war broke out, he worked on ragwort control and the use of New Zealand flax for woolpacks. In 1940, Lindsay volunteered and was commissioned into the 15th Forestry Company NZE 2nd Echelon in southern England, from which he was posted to the Scientific Liaison Office in London where he remained until the end of the war. Here he tested New Zealand-produced grass and clover pasture seeds, and he worked closely with British scientists and scientists from other Commonwealth countries.

Following the end of the war in Europe, Lindsay joined the forestry and timber section of the military government in the British zone in Germany. He worked alongside the German Forest Service and here saw the amazing range of materials, including food, explosives, clothing and fuel that the Germans obtained from wood.

When Lindsay returned to New Zealand in 1947 he was appointed Assistant Director of the Botany Division of DSIR. He became Director in 1949. During this period at DSIR, Lindsay made a detailed study of the southern beeches and he was responsible in 1958 for an important taxonomic revision of beech species.

In 1951 Lindsay was appointed Assistant Director of the New Zealand Forest Service and in 1961 as the Director-General of the New Zealand Forest Service. During this 20-year period Lindsay presided over the second planting boom in New Zealand and he greatly improved forest practice and expanded forest research.

After Lindsay retired from the Forest Service in 1971, he was invited to chair the Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Council, a position he held for the next seven years.

During this career of public service, Lindsay was also able to forge a career as a distinguished scientist, sufficient for him to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 1962. He has published 77 scientific papers and seven books, five of these following his retirement from the Forest Service. His first book Trees and Shrubs of New Zealand, written with Nancy Adams, was first published in 1963 and is now in its fifth edition. In 2006, at age 98, he published a book with Hamish Levack and Julian Bateson titled The great wood robbery? Political bumbling ruins New Zealand forestry. Lindsay had a BForSc degree, an MSc (NZ) degree and a Diploma of Horticulture. He received the Queen's Crowning Medal in 1953. In 1970 he received the CBE and in 1977 he received the Silver Jubilee Medal. He was awarded an Associate of Honour of the Royal Institute of Horticulture and he was an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Foresters in Britain, a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Forestry, and a Life Member of the Commonwealth Forestry Association.

Lindsay Poole had an important connection with the University of Canterbury. He played a large role, probably greater than any other person, in the re-establishment of the School of Forestry at Canterbury in 1970. In 1963 the Treasury became concerned at the drain in overseas funds caused by the long-standing policy of sending New Zealand science graduates to overseas universities with government bursaries to gain professional forestry qualifications. Accordingly, it recommended to the Minister of Forests that he arrange for discussions with New Zealand universities on the economics and feasibility of re-establishing a forestry school in New Zealand (there had been two previously, one each at Auckland and Canterbury, but neither survived the Depression).

Lindsay Poole took the initiative and played an active part in what happened after that. At the time he was faced, as Director-General of Forests, with the problem of finding a suitable permanent home for the Protection Forestry Branch of the Forest Research Institute, then based on the outskirts of Rangiora. He saw the great educational and research advantages of having a school of forestry and part of the Forest Research Institute together on the new Canterbury campus. He recommended this development to the Government, soliciting support from the Hon. R. G. Gerard, then Minister of Forests and Member for Ashburton. One result, following negotiations between the Forest Service, the University Grants Committee and the University under then Vice-Chancellor Leigh Pownall, was the opening of the School of Forestry at Canterbury in 1970. Another, following further negotiations with the University under then Vice-Chancellor Neville Phillips, was the construction a few years later of a Forest Research Institute building next to the School of Forestry. Since then of course the Protection Forestry Branch of the Forest Research Institute has been subsumed under the new organisation Landcare Research and shifted to Lincoln, and another branch of the Forest Research Institute has moved into an enlarged School of Forestry building. Lindsay Poole's vision still survives.

Lindsay Poole played golf, and expertly, into his 90s. He was one of the distinguished few who could, over a considerable period of his retirement, complete 18 holes of golf with a score less than his age.

Lindsay Poole died on 2 January 2008 at the age of 99 years, just 2 months shy of his 100th birthday.


Professor Emeritus Roger Sands
New Zealand School of Forestry
University of Canterbury, New Zealand




  • Poole, A. L. 1933: Study of wind damage to 3-year-old stand of insignis pine in Hanmer plantation. Te Kura 111.3.149.
  • Poole, A. L. 1937: Ecological survey of Pukekura State Forest. New Zealand Journal of Forestry 4: 78-85.
  • Poole, A. L. 1938a: Botanical studies on ragwort. New Zealand Journal of Agriculture 56: 83-90.
  • Poole, A. L. 1938b: Germination of ragwort in water. New Zealand Journal of Agriculture 57: 95-96.
  • Poole, A. L. 1940a: Phormium in horticulture and industry. Journal of the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture 10: 57.
  • Poole, A. L.; Cairns, D. 1940: Botanical aspects of ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) control. New Zealand Department of Scientific and Industrial Research Bulletin 82.
  • Poole, A. L. 1940-41: War impressions of some woods in S. England. New Zealand Journal of Forestry 4(5): 281-283.
  • Poole, A. L. 1942: New Zealand seeds for British pastures. New Zealand Journal of Agriculture 64(5): 297-302.
  • Poole A. L. 1942-44: Further war impressions of some woods in southern England. New Zealand Journal of Forestry 5(1): 26-29.
  • Poole, A. L.; Coop, I. E. 1945: Scientific collaboration between the United Kingdom and New Zealand in war and peace. Journal of the Royal Society Arts (4685) Feb. 138-145.
  • Poole, A. L. 1946a: An 'indigenous induced' Phormium tenax swamp in New Zealand. Linnean Society of London: Botany. 53(349): 63-70.
  • Poole, A. L. 1946b: Some aspects of German forestry. New Zealand Journal of Forestry 5(3): 183-191.
  • Poole, A. L. 1946c: The forests of the British occupation zone of Germany. Empire Forestry Review 25(1): 25-31.
  • Poole, A. L. 1946d: Trials of New Zealand pasture seeds in Britain: 1941 and 1942 trials. New Zealand28(2): 145-160.
  • Poole, A. L. 1947a: German wood utilisation. New Zealand National Review May 47.
  • Poole, A. L. 1947b: Note on Pinus radiata relationships. New Zealand Journal of Forestry 5(4): 324.
  • Poole, A. L. 1947c: Some observations upon forest tree breeding. New Zealand Journal of Forestry 5(4): 269-277.
  • Poole, A. L. 1948a: Recent researches on southern beech. Australian Timber Journal 14(6): 377, 379, 381, 383, 385, 387.
  • Poole, A. L. 1948b: The flowering of beech. New Zealand Journal of Forestry 5(5): 422-427.
  • Poole, A. L. 1949a: Brief account of the New Zealand-American Fiordland expedition. New Zealand Science Review 7: 134-137.
  • Poole, A. L. 1949b: Nazi influence on German forest administration. New Zealand Scientific Congress Report 1947: 181-185. Publication inNew Zealand V.77 pt.5, 1949.
  • Poole, A. L. 1949c: New Zealand temperate trees. Arboretum Bulletin Seattle. XXII.I. 8-10.
  • Poole, A. L. 1949d: Notes on the 1949 Beech seeding. New Zealand Journal of Forestry 6(1): 51-54.
  • Poole, A. L. 1949e: Southern beech (Nothofagus) flowering seasons. Nature 4155: 163.
  • Poole, A. L. 1949f: The New Zealand-American Fiordland expedition. Education 2: 38-42.
  • Poole, A. L.; Boyce, W. R. 1949: Studies of Phormium management, Moutoa Estate, Foxton. New Zealand: 1-22.
  • Poole, A. L. 1950a: A pocket of silver beech, West Taupo. New Zealand Journal of Forestry 6(2): 144-145.
  • Poole, A. L. 1950b: Studies of New Zealand Nothofagus. 1. Taxonomy and Floral Morphology. Transactions Royal Society of New Zealand 78: 363-380.
  • Poole, A. L. 1950c: Studies of the New Zealand Nothofagus. 2. Nut and Cupule Development. Transactions Royal Society of New Zealand 78: 503-508.
  • Poole, A. L. 1950d: The distribution of Toatoa. New Zealand Journal of Forestry 6(2): 145.
  • Poole, A. L. Elder, N. L. 1950: A forest which renews itself. New Zealand Management 1(8): 65-7.
  • Poole, A. L. 1951a: Flora and vegetation of the Caswell and George Sounds district (Area covered by the New Zealand-American Fiordland expedition). Transactions Royal Society of New Zealand 79: 62-83.
  • Poole, A. L. 1951b: Hybrid southern beeches. New Zealand Journal of Forestry 6(3): 250-253.
  • Poole, A. L. 1951c: New Zealand's exotic softwood forests. British Agriculture Bulletin 4: 9-14.
  • Poole, A. L. 1951d: The New Zealand-American Fiordland expedition. New Zealand Department of Scientific and Industrial Research Bulletin 103. Wellington, New Zealand, Government Printer. Report compiled by A. L. Poole. Sections contributed: Deer and the Vegetation - Field Evidence. Vegetation of the Expedition Area.
  • Poole, A. L. 1952a: New Zealand-American Fiordland expedition. Nature, Vol. 169: 434.
  • Poole, A. L. 1952b: Phormium tenax, New Zealand Hemp. British Agriculture Bulletin 5: 88-93.
  • Poole, A. L. 1952c: The development of Nothofagus seed (including a preliminary account of the embryogeny, etc). Transactions Royal Society of New Zealand 80 (2): 207-212.
  • Poole, A. L. 1953a: New data concerning the distribution of Nothofagus. Proceedings VII Pacific Science Congress 1949. Vol. V. Botany: 159-164.
  • Poole, A. L. 1953b: Research and forest practice in New Zealand. New Zealand Science Review: 60-64.
  • Poole, A. L.; Taylor, N. H. 1953: Ecotones in the pumice country (Abstract only). Report of the Seventh Science Congress 1951: 43.
  • Poole, A. L. 1956: The distribution of beech forests. Proceedings of the New Zealand
  • Poole, A. L. 1957: Science and forestry. In: Science in New Zealand, Callaghan F. R. ed. Wellington, Reed.
  • Poole, A. L. 1958a: Establishment & management of forests. New Zealand Engineering 13: 208-209.
  • Poole, A. L. 1958b: Exotic afforestation and land use in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Forestry 7(5): 11-18.
  • Poole, A. L. 1958c: Studies of New Zealand Nothofagus species. 3. The entire leaved species. Transactions Royal Society of New Zealand 85: 551-564.
  • Poole, A. L. 1960: Protection forests in New Zealand, and a poverty bay example. New Zealand Geographer 16(2) Oct 1960: 115-130.
  • Poole, A. L. 1962: Reserves. New Zealand Ecological Society, Proceedings 9: 69-74.
  • Poole, A. L. 1963a: Ecology and the administrator. New Zealand Ecological Society Proceedings 10: 73-77.
  • Poole, A. L. 1963b: Farm forestry and the future. Farm Forestry 5(2) May 1963: 25-28.
  • Poole, A. L. 1964a: Change and progress in the use of taxonomic, population, and related concepts in ecological research. (Paper prepared for Section M, ANZAAS, Canberra.)
  • Poole, A. L. 1964b: Farming and forestry: complementary land uses. Ruakura Farmers' Conference Week, Proceedings 1964: 143-150.
  • Poole, A. L. 1964c: The flowering, seeding and hybridisation of beeches in: New Zealand Forest Service, Forest Research Institute Beech Forestry in New Zealand, Vol.2, 1964: 70-71.
  • Poole, A. L. 1965a: Restoration of degraded lands in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Forestry 10(1): 25-32.
  • Poole, A. L. 1965b: The place of forestry in New Zealand with special references to Otago. New Zealand Science Review: 57-59.
  • Poole, A. L. Thomson, A. P.; Olsen, P. F. 1965: Exotic conifers for pulp and paper manufacture; New Zealand experience. (Paper prepared for the Conference on Pulp and Paper Development in Africa and Near East, Cairo 1965).
  • Poole, A. L. 1966a: Contributor to An encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Wellington Government Printery.
  • Poole, A. L. 1966b: Forest policy provides background for timber development. Timber Development Association Bulletin Vol. 2(5): 1-3, 13.
  • Poole, A. L.; 1967a: Relative productivity and economic returns of natural and man made forests. Wellington, New Zealand Forest Service. (Paper prepared for the 9th British Commonwealth Forestry Conference, India, 1968).
  • Poole, A. L. 1967b: The future forest resource of New Zealand. (Paper prepared for the Golden Jubilee Conference of the Dominion Sawmillers' Federation, Rotorua, 1967). Rotorua, The Federation, 1967.
  • Poole, A. L. 1967c: The integration of research in agriculture and forestry. Australian Journal of Science 29(7): 199-204. (Presidential address to Sect. K ANZAAS, Melbourne, 1967).
  • Poole, A. L. 1968a: Five year review of the Forestry Encouragement Loans scheme. Farm Forestry 10(2): 37-43.
  • Poole, A. L. 1968b: The use of vegetation. (Cawthron Memorial Lecture No. 42) Nelson, R. W. Stiles & Co. Printers.
  • Poole, A. L. 1973a: No place for animals on eroded high country. Soil & Water, June 73.
  • Poole, A. L. 1973b: Protecting Ruahines more important than saving Manapouri. Soil & Water, June 73.
  • Poole, A. L. 1973c: Restoring South Island high country. Forest & Bird, August 73.
  • Poole, A. L. 1973d: The future of retired high country. Tussock Grasslands & Mountain Land Institute Review 26.
  • Poole, A. L. 1974a: New Zealand's trees. New Zealand Nature Heritage, Pt 12.
  • Poole, A. L. 1974b: Podocarp forests. New Zealand Nature Heritage, Pt 4.
  • Poole, A. L. 1974c: The future of the Catchment Authority Movement. Soil & Water (Editorial June 74).
  • Poole, A. L. 1979: Address to Annual Conference New Zealand Catchment Authorities Association. Report of the Conference.
  • Poole, A. L. 1981: Wonderful Waikato water. Soil and Water Vol.1, Nos 5&6.
  • Poole, A. L. 1982: Land drainage a part of water management. Proceedings of the First National LandMassey University.
  • Poole, A. L. 1988: Kaingaroa: deep in the forest. New Zealand.
  • Poole, A. L. 1992: The Wellington Botanic Garden, New Zealand. Arboricultural Journal 16.4.
  • Poole, A. L. 1994: (Book Review) Forest plunder, Listener. (Review Out of the Woods, Birchfield, Grant).
  • Poole, A. L. 1994: (Book Review) Out of the Woods, Birchfield, Grant. New Zealand Forestry May 94.


  • Poole, A. L.; Adams, N. M. 1963: Trees and shrubs of New Zealand. Wellington Government Printer. Reprinted July 1963, July 1964, March 1979, October 1986, December 1990.
  • Poole, A. L. 1969: Forestry in New Zealand: the shaping of a policy. Hodder & Stoughton (Auckland) in association with English Universities Press, London. 109 p.
  • Poole, A. L. 1970: (Compiled under the direction of) Wild animals in New Zealand. A. H. & A. W. Reed. 151 p.
  • Poole, A. L.; 1983: Catchment control in New Zealand. Water and Soil Miscellaneous Publication No. 48. 185 p. Government Printer, Wellington.
  • Poole, A. L. 1987: Southern beeches. Department of Scientific and Industrial Research Scientific Information Publishing Centre. 148 p.
  • Poole, Lindsay; Johns, John 1992: Tomorrow's trees. Caxton Press in association with Carter Holt Harvey Ltd. pp 189, III. 88.
  • Levack, H.; Poole, L.; Bateson, J. 2006: The great wood robbery? Political bumbling ruins New Zealand forestry. Bateson Publishing, Wellington. 73 p.