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Dr Ahmed Fayaz at his graduation with his son

NZRA has helped to support a PhD study involving DNA based research on vireyas that contributes to knowledge concerning species inter-relationships over the past few years. Ahmed Fayaz, submitted his thesis entitled ‘Biodiversity of the Vireya group of Rhododendron L. (Ericaceae) collections in New Zealand and their potential contribution to international conservation’ at the end of last year. It is literally a weighty tome and its contents enabled him to progress to a successful oral examination in February and graduation from Massey University with his PhD in May. You can access his thesis at: Dr Fayaz is now writing up his results for publication in a scientific journal. Dr Marion Mackay reported on some of his findings at the International Rhododendron Species Conservation Conference held at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh 20-21st April 2013, in her presentation ‘Ex situ rhododendron conservation – a New Zealand perspective’. You can view this at:

We are now developing a new project, together with our friends in the Australian Rhododendron Society, This project will focus on the Australian vireya species, R. lochiae and R. viriosum, with respect to their relationships to each other and possible ancestors in Papua New Guinea.