The story of the garden began when ideas to celebrate the Millennium were debated by the committee of SPOKKSA (Society for the Preservation of the Kerikeri Stone Store Area Inc). Since the Bay of Islands has been one of the focal points of Natural History exploration in New Zealand it was decided to explore the possibility of planting an area administered by the Department of Conservation. When approached they agreed enthusiastically with the project and indeed have provided many of the plants for us free of charge. The collection of plant material has been extended to include living specimens of the many species of Northland plants on which humans have depended since settlement began in this land.
Work commenced during September 1999 when the site was cleared of unwanted weed growth. Tracks were then formed linking the various habitats required by the plants.
On the left hand side as the garden is entered from Rewa’s Village is the large bed known as Te Wao Nui a Tane.
This is where many of the plants utilised by Ngā Tangata Whenua (People of the Land) and their descendants are found.
Several of these were also beneficial in many ways to the early European settlers. Ahead is a border of species from the bush; many are rapid colonisers of bare ground. Others from rocky places, the seashore and offshore islands are grouped around a tiny wetland pond. At the top of the rise there are seats and a border of trees much valued for their timber. Finally a shaded walk leads through the trees. Here may be seen a variety of ferns and other plants which revel in such conditions.