26 May 2016
Locals are being encouraged to explore new areas of Pukekura Park this Sunday (29 May) as part of Australasia’s first national open day for botanic gardens.
The aim of the open day is to highlight the achievements of botanic gardens in plant conservation, with more than 74 venues in Australia and New Zealand taking part.
“Locals have grown up with Pukekura Park and we often go to our favourite usual places, such as the playground or the Fernery and Display Houses or Brooklands Zoo,” says Curator Pukekura Park Chris Connolly.
“What we’d like to do is encourage people to explore a part of the park they haven’t been to for a long time, or that they’ve possibly never visited before, and take note of the variety of plant species around them.
“Pick a new walking track and see where it takes you!”
The 52ha of Pukekura Park have 14km of walking tracks, two Sister Cities gardens, a native bush remnant that includes a 2,000-year-old puriri tree, and other trees that have been planted as far back as 1851 – just 10 years after the European settlement of New Plymouth.
The Fernery and Display Houses has more than 50,000 plants in its collections, with species from around the world.
Pukekura Park is a five-star Garden of National Significance and is widely recognised as one of the finest gardens in Australasia.
“We’re so fortunate to have this amazing botanical jewel right in the heart of our city that is open every day and free to enjoy,” says Mr Connolly.
Australia’s Ambassador for the Botanic Gardens Open Day, Costa Georgiadia, had these words to share about this inaugural national event:
“Botanic gardens have gathered centuries of resources and expertise and play a key role in plant conservation. Such work not only conserves threatened plant species, but forms the basis of critical science and research projects looking at some of the most important challenges we face,” said Costa Georgiadis, Ambassador for the Botanic Gardens Open Day.
“Botanic garden staff are passionate about their work and we see our role as educating, training and imparting knowledge to ensure our future is in safe hands.
“Some of the biggest challenges of our time are being tackled on the botanic garden frontline. We know plants are critical to our lives, but there is still a low awareness in the general community of the work that botanic gardens undertake. That is what the Open Day is all about.”