Torchy Atkinson

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John Dunstan "Torchy" Atkinson OBE (3 March 1909 27 February 1990) was a New Zealand horticultural scientist and scientific administrator.

Atkinson was born in Wellington, New Zealand on 3 March 1909. His father was the solicitor Samuel Arnold Atkinson (1874–1917), [1] and his mother was Mary Herrick Atkinson (née Hursthouse). He was known as Duncan by his family, but friends and colleagues almost all referred to him as Torchy for his red hair, and the name stuck even after he had turned grey. New Zealand's tenth Premier, Sir Harry Atkinson, was his grandfather. [2]

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Sir Harry Albert Atkinson served as the tenth Premier of New Zealand on four separate occasions in the late 19th century, and was Colonial Treasurer for a total of ten years. He was responsible for guiding the country during a time of economic depression, and was known as a cautious and prudent manager of government finances, though distrusted for some radical policies such as his 1882 National Insurance (welfare) scheme and leasehold land schemes. He also participated in the formation of voluntary military units to fight in the New Zealand Wars, and was noted for his strong belief in the need for seizure of Māori land.

Atkinson was the director of Fruit Research Station of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), and later the director of the Plant Diseases Division. His research has contributed significantly to New Zealand's strong position as an exporter of fruit. After his retirement in 1974, he was commissioned to write the history of the DSIR. Atkinson died at Birkdale, Auckland, on 27 February 1990. [2]

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Birkdale is a suburb of Auckland, New Zealand, comprising statistical area units 'Birkdale North' and 'Birkdale South'. The population was 7,179 in the 2013 census, an increase of 381 from 2006. The suburb is located in the North Shore, and is under the governance of Auckland Council.

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References

  1. Adlam, Geoff. "Samuel Arnold Atkinson, 1874-1917". New Zealand Law Society . Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  2. 1 2 Bollard, E. G. "John Dunstan Atkinson". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography . Ministry for Culture and Heritage . Retrieved December 2011.Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)