Pukekura Park - its ecology and history - Friends of Pukekura Park New Plymouth Inc.

About Pukekura Park

Pukekura Park has been recognised by the New Zealand Gardens Trust
as a

‘Founding Garden of National Significance’

Pukekura Park Yesterday and Today



Lake 1906

Lake 2008

Click here to enlarge

Click here to enlarge

Park Overview:

Situated in the heart of New Plymouth, Pukekura and Brooklands offer 52 hectares of tranquil surroundings, full of contrast and character. The unique collection of trees and shrubs has developed significantly since the park's conception. Within Pukekura, many original plantings including ‘The Carrington Pine' still live on. A gift of 2000 trees from Christchurch, notably Radiata Pine, helped to start the collection. Later large plantings of exotics and New Zealand natives followed, as well as collections of rhododendrons and azaleas. The opening of the fernery enabled a year round display of ferns and colourful indoor plants; begonias and fuchsias are a summer feature and orchids bloom throughout the year.

Brooklands, in contrast, has developed into a more formal park with large deciduous trees set within sweeping lawns and perennial gardens with native bush as a backdrop, including a grand 2000 year old Puriri tree.

Expert botanical husbandry and a continuing programme of replacement and maintenance ensures the unique character of this public garden will be retained, to be enjoyed by generations to come.

The Park also boasts the famous "TSB Festival of Lights' held annually each summer, and the ‘TSB Bowl of Brooklands' where international entertainers perform in a natural amphitheatre.

The Park history

What is now one of the premier botanical gardens in New Zealand began life as a treeless, swampy valley in 1876. It was through the foresight of Robert Clinton Hughes and Thomas Kelly (Provincial secretary) that the passing of the Botanical Gardens Bill enabled the park to be founded. In 1878 the main lake was formed, followed in 1884 by ‘The Poets Bridge’ which was built from the winnings of a horse race. 1887 saw the erection of the bandstand and in 1897, to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, the drinking fountain was unveiled. The park was named ‘Pukekura’ in 1907, the name taken from the stream that runs through it.
The next major features were the opening of ‘The Fernery’ in 1928 and the Tea House in 1931. R C Hughes, the ‘Father of the Park’, passed away in 1935. The fountain was commissioned in 1955 to commemorate the visit of Queen Elizabeth II. The waterfall was built in 1970, and the centenary of the park was celebrated in 1976 with the installation of the water wheel.

Brooklands Park:

Began as a family estate in 1843 on land granted to Captain Henry King, but in 1861 during the ‘Land Wars' the house was burned down leaving only the fireplace. In 1888 Mr Newton King purchased the property and undertook extensive landscaping. ‘The Gables', an old colonial hospital, was purchased in 1904 and transferred to its present site. In 1934 Brooklands was given to the people of New Plymouth and became part of Pukekura Park. Work began on the Bowl of Brooklands in 1957 and in 1965 the Brooklands Zoo was opened.




Read more - "Pukekura Park and Brooklands: A guide to walks", by Ron Lambert. On sale at the Puke Ariki I-Site and the Park Tea House, $15.

Not to be missed:

To contact The Tea House, Pukekura Park, telephone: 06 758 7205


Services to the public:


View comprehensive NPDC Map of Pukekura Park

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