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Lawrie Metcalf is among the world's leading experts on the flora of New Zealand. He has worked in botanical gardens in Melbourne and Adelaide, Australia, was assistant director of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens in New Zealand, and was director of parks and recreation for the Invercargill City Council from 1977 to 1992 . He is a recipient of the prestigious Gold Veitch Memorial Medal, the highest honor that the Royal Horticultural Society awards to people outside the U.K. He is the author of several books on native New Zealand plants and has received numerous horticultural honors and awards. Prior to writing Hebes, he was the researcher and compiler of the International Register of Hebe Cultivars.