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About Us

Welcome to the New Zealand Iris Society Web Site.  We have come a long way since our formation as a Society in November 1950.  At that time our President was Mrs Jean Stevens of Wanganui and for those who don’t know her she was our most notable Iris breeder of the time.  Her breeding programme was respected both nationally and internationally and through our web site we hope to bring you profiles of people like Jean and the many others who have made our Society what it is today.

We all begin with a love affair and for most it is with the Tall Bearded Iris which comes in all hues except a true red and green, however the search to perfect these colours in the Iris continues today as it has done for the past 80 odd years.

With the help of our web site you will find groups in your area who run programmes throughout the year to provide education and friendship, commercials growers who specialise in many different species of Iris, the Management Committee who run the Society’s daily business and annual events run by both groups and the National Society.

Nationally the Society holds an Annual Convention to promote both the iris and the Society and its work and this information can be found on a link.

We also have many fine publications about growing Iris in New Zealand and we have from our inception published the New Zealand Iris Society Bulletin which keeps us in touch with what is happening both nationally and internationally.  This publication comes out three (3) times a year and this too has come a long way with our first publications in black and white and now with the use of colour and digital photography we can present members with photos of Iris to capture the imagination.

We hope that through the web site we can bring you information and photographs that will also capture you and with interactive discussion can solve some of the vexing questions regarding a much loved and prized Genus.

I would like to leave you with a poem written by Kathleen Hawkins and published in Bulletin Number 1, March 1950.

Ode to a Catalogue

“Pernicious literature? Oh nay!
Pernicious things do people harm.
Yes, “dangerous literature,” I’d say;
For in its pages lies a charm.
It lures the money from my purse,
I fain would order plants galore;
I’d squander money; and what’s worse,
I’d envy those who can spend more.

For it makes rainbow visions wake.
I read of blooms of splendid hues;
Of “tawny gold” or falls that take
A purple shaded bronze.  I choose
“Twixt” iridescent claret brown”
And “lilac-pink” and “harebell blue”
And then reverse my choice, and frown
Because I don’t know what to do.

And then their naming! “Deep Velvet” lures,
Of “Shining Waters” I have dreamt;
The “China Maid” delight ensures;
“Pale Moonlight” calls and “Great Lakes” tempt.
‘Tis useless! I must be content
With these few plants I name today;
But if fate should e’er relent,
And boundless riches come my way —
Then — lest one loveliness be missed —
I’ll buy each Iris on your list.

Kathleen Hawkins