Dr Brian Molloy ONZM began his career as a research scientist in agriculture, later specialising in the conservation and ecology of native plants. Although retired, he continues to work as a botanical and conservation consultant and as a research associate with Landcare Research.
He was a Director of the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust from 1989 to 1998 and became its High Country Representative shortly thereafter, holding that position until his retirement in June 2012.
Dr Molloy has done extensive work and is a recognised authority on New Zealand orchids, conifers and some daisies. His work on orchids in particular has been novel in the way he has undertaken comprehensive systematic studies which integrated ecological, taxonomic and cytological data to unravel complex problems of hybridism and evolution of species. In all of his work he has been careful, meticulous and patient in seeking the evidence and reporting it in a scientifically accurate form.
He has written over 100 scientific papers, most of them on botanical subjects. He has also been to the forefront of many conservation organisations, and instrumental in the acquisition of new protected areas and extensions to existing parks and reserves.
Dr Molloy’s contribution to the conservation and study of New Zealand’s native flora has been recognised with a number of awards:
1990 Loder Cup: for contribution to native plants and conservation.
1992 Community Services Award by Christchurch City Council.
1995 Civic Award by Christchurch City Council.
1995 Charles Fleming Award by RSNZ for Environmental Achievement.
1997 ONZM for services to conservation.
2000 High Country Committee Federated Farmers award for contribution
to science, the land and the people of the High Country.
2006 Lifetime Conservation Achievement Award by the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network.
2007 Associate of Honour of the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture for distinguished service to horticulture in New Zealand.
2010 Bledisloe Trophy by the Canterbury Botanical Society for contribution to New Zealand botany.
2011 Companion of the Royal Society of New Zealand for contribution to the promotion and advancement of science and technology in New Zealand.
2011 Hatch Medal by the NZ Native Orchid Group for an outstanding contribution to New Zealand orchidology.
2012 Establishment of Brian Molloy QEII National Trust scholarship to support PhD research in New Zealand ecology.
Endemic plants that have been named in Dr Molly’s honour:
2001 Sophora molloyi-- Cooks Strait kowhai
2002 Molloybas cryptanthus-- saprophytic orchid