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Visit to Tupare Gardens

Issue date: 
Friday, 30 October 2009
Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand, GNZM, QSO

May I begin by greeting everyone in the languages of the realm of New Zealand, in English, Māori, Cook Island Māori, Niuean, Tokelauan and New Zealand Sign Language. 

Greetings, Kia Ora, Kia Orana, Fakalofa Lahi Atu, Taloha Ni and as it is the afternoon (Sign)

May I then specifically greet you: David MacLeod, Chairman of the Taranaki Regional Council; Basil Chamberlain, Chief Executive of the Council and fellow council staff, particularly the Regional Gardens Manager Greg Rine; Elaine Gill, Chairperson of the Taranaki Arts Festival Trust and your fellow trustee Lynn Bublitz; Suzanne Porter, Chief Executive of the Trust and your staff; Representatives from the Friends of Tupare and the Fitzroy Rotary Club;   Distinguished guests otherwise; Ladies and Gentlemen. 

It was with great pleasure that my wife Susan and I visit Tupare Gardens here in New Plymouth today.  I have been asked to officially launch the Garden’s new electric vehicle and plant a tree, but before I do I would speak briefly as to the importance of gardens such as this.

I must admit at the outset that I am no gardener and any essential vice-regal tips on dealing with black spot, canker or leaf roller, will have to be referenced to my wife Susan, who is a keen and accomplished gardener. 

While I am no green thumb, I can say that I have become quite an expert on planting trees.   I have planted several in Auckland and Wellington, one on Niue and one on the Chatham Islands and one in the Hawke’s Bay. Indeed, I think I have planted sufficient trees in my time as Governor-General to warrant applying for carbon credits when they come on stream.

I may also have to take some tips from Susan on the launching side of the business.  While I have launched countless websites, campaigns and books, I have launched few, if any vehicles of any description.  Susan by contrast has launched Auckland’s police vessel, Deodar III and the Royal New Zealand Navy’s patrol craft, HMNZS Taupō.  

But seriously, it is a great pleasure to visit these gardens, which were bequeathed by the Matthews Family, initially to the care of the QEII National Trust and since 2002 to the care of the Taranaki Regional Council.

And while I am no gardener, I can certainly appreciate the beauty of this magnificent 3.6 hectare garden, with its James Chapman-Taylor designed home. 

Gardens such as Tupare are a haven.  With most New Zealanders living in urban areas and often living on smaller and smaller residential plots, gardens such as Tupare are a place of escape—even if there is still cell phone coverage!

And in gardens, Taranaki is more resplendent that most as the Taranaki Rhododendron and Garden Festival so amply shows.  From Pukekura Park and Brooklands in New Plymouth, to Hollard Gardens in Kaponga and a host of private gardens, this region is a veritable gardener’s paradise.

The Taranaki Arts Festival Trust is therefore to be congratulated for its ongoing promotion of the region’s gardens through the Rhododendron and Garden Festival, now in its 22nd year.

Another factor of modern life, is that New Zealand’s population is ageing.  While Tupare is a great garden, it has become apparent that its steep drive often proves a barrier to those who have difficulties with mobility.

The Council is therefore to be congratulated on buying this electric mobility vehicle.  It shows the council’s commitment to making its facilities accessible to people of all ages and abilities.

In 1934, my predecessor Sir Charles Bledisloe, the 1st  Viscount Bledisloe, came to New Plymouth and officially opened Brooklands to the public, following the gift of that magnificent garden from the Newtown King family. 

In opening Brooklands, Viscount Bledisloe, who knew far more about matters horticultural than I do, forecast that tourism would be a major future source of New Zealand’s wealth.  In particular, he prophesised that tourists from around the world would visit to see New Zealand’s gardens and its native forests and beauty.  

On that day, he laid down a challenge to this city, asking why New Plymouth should not be “a centre of enlightenment” for this purpose to the rest of New Zealand.

Seventy-six years later, I am sure Bledisloe would have been pleased to have seen how the people of New Plymouth and Taranaki have so readily risen to the challenge he laid before them.

And on that note, I will close in New Zealand’s first language Māori, offering greetings and wishing everyone good health and fortitude in your endeavours.  

No reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, kia ora, kia kaha, tēnā koutou katoa.

Last updated: 
Tuesday, 3 November 2009

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