Finn Michalak
Plant Identification Tutor

Finn Michalak

Finn Michalak
After originally studying to be an archaeologist, Finn Michalak fell in love with plants.

Growing up in rural England amongst a historic, green landscape, Finn looked up to his dad, who was a National Trust Head Gardener and remains a superb plantsman.

“My dad was a big part of my journey and helped to bring the world of plants alive to me. I cannot look at any landscape now without the plants being the most visible component.”

After studying horticulture in Cornwell, his curiosity about New Zealand plants brought Finn to Aotearoa in 2008.

Finn was the curator at Otari Native Botanic Garden in Wellington for many years. He has also managed a native plant nursey on the Kapiti Coast and worked as a field botanist for the Wellington Regional Council. He is now an Environmental Scientist, monitoring wetlands for the Wellington Regional Council.

“I like to get out in the field as much as possible with my students,” Finn says. “We take some lovely walks in beautiful locations on the Plant Identification course, where we also cover te reo and common names, horticultural and cultural uses.”

“Teaching is fun, and I consider it my own professional development. Students ask the most interesting, thought-provoking questions.”

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