Dame Ella Campbell

Massey University’s Herbarium is named after renowned botanist Dame Ella Campbell. 

Massey University’s first woman staff member and the only woman staff member for many years, she was a dedicated and passionate botanist.

Dame Ella joined Massey in March 1945, lecturing horticulture and agriculture students about plant morphology and anatomy. 

Her primary research interest was the study of liverworts and her vast collections still contribute to current research on the New Zealand flora. She travelled widely overseas in pursuit of liverworts and also became an internationally-accredited orchid judge. She was multi-lingual, and once delivered a speech in German at the 300th anniversary of the Berlin Botanical Gardens.

She remained on the teaching staff of Massey University until her ‘retirement’ in 1976 but even after that, continued to work as a research associate in the ecology building for more than two decades. She published a substantial volume of work before retiring at 90 years old.

She was awarded a DSc from the University of Otago and made a Fellow of the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture in 1976. She became a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1997, as “a pioneer in the field of university botanic research” and received the Massey Medal in 1992.

Dame Ella Campbell