A fresh naming partner, five new gardens, and the return of the landscape design project together show the Centuria Taranaki Garden Festival is all about regrowth.
That’s according to festival manager Tetsu Garnett, who says there will be 43 open gardens and an abundance of events on offer for the October 28 to November 6 spring celebration.
“I don’t remember the programme being that fat,” she says, picking it up.
Running alongside the 35th festival are the Taranaki Arts Trail, starring 79 artists, and the Taranaki Sustainable Backyards Trail, with 30 open properties. “The collaboration works brilliantly.”
This year, Taranaki is poised to be inundated with visitors.
Tetsu says requests for the programme, showcasing the festival and two trails, have been constant and come from as far away as the UK and many from Australia.
By the middle of August, the TAFT office had sent out as many programmes as were requested for the entire 2021 festival.
This year, a huge boost for the festival has been signing property funds manager Centuria NZ as a naming partner.
“Because we have not had a naming partner since 2018, we’re hugely proud to be aligned with Centuria, who are a global brand with grassroots in Taranaki. They are all about people, as are we,” Tetsu says.
Centuria buys and manages large commercial properties and offers opportunities for everyday investors to buy shareholdings in these properties.
“Having a naming partner means the festival can have longevity and we can continue to provide a platform to highlight amazing gardens and Taranaki as a great place to visit.”
This year, among the large line-up of gardens on offer, there are five new entries – Glascroft in Patea, The Galleys Garden at Lepperton, 49 Rata in Hawera and Saxton Sanctuary and Oak Valley, both in New Plymouth. Frog Lodge, unable to open last year, will be in this time.
“The festival is always changing, with some gardens taking a rest and new ones coming in,” Tetsu says.
This year, the landscape design project returns.
Using “as much greenery as possible”, garden and interior designer Michael Mansvelt will be creating Return to Paradise in the Huatoki Plaza, New Plymouth.
Luxuriant plantings will be used to transform the high-profile inner-city space into a verdant haven, open and free to visit for the duration of the festival. “I want people to feel inspired; it would be really lovely for people to feel a connection to the earth and the native plantings and be inspired by similar plantings in their own gardens,” Michael says.
Located on Devon St West, Return to Paradise follows on from Michael’s hugely popular project, Paradise Lost, which adorned part of Pukekura Park in 2016.
Another relaxing space on Devon St West is the Festival Hub, which will again pop up in the W.R. Phillips Volkswagen Taranaki showroom. It’s a space where visitors can rest, have a coffee, buy tickets, festival tote bags and T-shirts and talk to in-the-know volunteers about their garden itinerary.
“We are so fortunate to have W.R. Phillips Volkswagen Taranaki as a Gold Sponsor. They are so generous with their support, especially providing a home for the Hub and supplying us with the use of a Volkswagen T-Roc, which has been beautifully sign written and embellished with flowers,” Tetsu says.
“This is a self-drive festival, and we travel around all the time delivering programmes, so we’re delighted to be aligned with such a respected and established family company, and a world-renowned make of car.”