Te Kainga Marire Garden

Te Kainga Marire in Maori means peaceful campsite and that is exactly what describes this skilfully designed inner-city garden. Bursting with many of New Zealand’s native plants it is one of a few private gardens of international significance. A special treasure on our Taranaki Rhododendron Gardens tour.

History of Te Kainga Marire

The garden was once a weedy plot of land in the Te Henui Valley in New Plymouth. It borders the remnants of a coastal swamp forest and pa site and neighbours the river reserve and Te Henui walkway, leading to the city and sea

When David Clarkson and Valda Poletti purchased the land in 1972, they began the task of taming the 0.2-hectare plot. Kikuyu grass, gorse, fennel and blackberry covered the land. They began landscaping and also built their own home, a ‘posh hut,’ designed to blend into the surroundings.

They wanted a bird-friendly garden with grasses, climbers, herbaceous plants, shrubs and trees. However, they noticed an absence of tui in the area. Carefully planning native plantings on their property and the surrounding reserve they set out to increase the populations of tui and other nectar feeding native birds living in the area.

To get the tui into the garden Valda and David planted flax plants in the adjoining Te Henui Reserve to complement the existing kowhai and pohutukawa trees.

By the year 2000, a resident tui population in the Te Henui Valley had become established. Concerned there wasn’t enough food for them in the winter David and Valda made a commitment to start feeding a sugar/water supplement to help this population through the months when nectar and berries were in short supply. David made bamboo troughs attaching them to the kowhai trees, filling them with fresh syrup daily.

They have succeeded admirably and now have a well-established population of tui enjoying the garden and surrounding reserve.

About Te Kainga Marire

The harmonious garden is a mix of subtle textures and colours with some quirky forms. Lush ferns, wetland plants, alpine plants and native trees make up this garden. Its point of difference is the design and plants that evoke a feeling of a real New Zealand garden.

The wide selection of plants are arranged in such a way they create a very natural looking environment. A pool and rock garden are used to display plants while the roof of a sunken fern house is used to show off the distinctive foliage of some of the natives.  Rustic fences, a colonial bush hut add to the uniqueness of this garden.

There is also a productive organic vegetable garden.

Soil and Climate Conditions

The volcanic soil from Mount Taranaki is fertile and free-draining, providing a great foundation from which to nurture this thriving garden. The rainfall is regular and the sunshine hours are high.

Location and Directions

Te Kainga Marire is approximately 10 minutes from the centre of New Plymouth.

Direction from central New Plymouth are as follows:

Head east on Courtney Street/SH3.

Continue straight on to SH3 Slight left on to Northgate/SH3.

Turn right on to Mongorei Road (signs for Merrilands/Frankleigh Park).

Slight right on to Awanui Street.

Take the 1st right on to Spencer Place and Te Kainga Marire will be on your left.

Contact Details and Address

Address: 15 Spencer Pl, Merrilands, New Plymouth

Phone: 06 758 8693

Email: valda@tekaingamarire.co.nz

Website: http://tekaingamarire.co.nz

Valda and David’s garden is open daily 9am – 5pm from September to April.

Adult $10

Billy tea, scones, seasonal lunches or afternoon teas can be booked for small groups.

Children welcome.

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Taranaki Rhododendron Gardens 6 Day Tour

See Taranaki’s best rhododendron gardens in bloom, visit Cross Hills Garden in Kimbolton and stay in Whanganui and Taupo.

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