Unveil the untold tales of Rogers Rose Garden

The Rogers Rose Garden at Hamilton Gardens has a history as vibrant as its blossoms. To uncover the interesting past, we sat down with one of the Friends of Hamilton Gardens, delving into its stories and secrets.  Discovering these histories will paint a richer picture for your next visit, ensuring a deeper appreciation and understanding of this beloved space.

A growing vision

The Rogers Rose Garden traces its origins back to a pivotal moment in the late 1960s, when the World Federation of Rose Societies gave New Zealand the honour of hosting their triennial World Rose Convention. The Waikato Rose Society took the lead, envisioning a grander, more fitting rose garden for this momentous event than the modest one by Hamilton Lake.

A joint effort

In collaboration with the Parks and Reserves Manager, Bill Featherston, and the city council, the dream of a splendid rose garden that would complement the burgeoning Hamilton Gardens started to take shape. The council began planting roses in 1969, with an initial donation of 500 roses from local societies, including Waikato and Te Awamutu.

Challenges and transformations

The early days were not without challenges. The garden faced drainage issues, and an unconventional solution involving gelignite emerged to tackle these persistent problems, transforming the area from a former gravel dumping ground into the thriving haven it is today.

A blooming partnership

Dr. Sam McGredy, a renowned Rose Breeder originally from Ireland, attended the World Rose Convention before relocating to New Zealand and making Auckland his home. He continued his passionate Rose breeding program, introducing varieties like Matangi, Waikato, Hamilton Gardens, and Paddy Stephens. Dr. McGredy's collaboration with Peter Sergel, Director of Hamilton Gardens, gave birth to the 'Public Judging' of the Roses, now an eagerly anticipated annual event celebrating its 21st year.

A lasting legacy

The focal point of the four-day festival revolves around the New Zealand Rose of the Year trial. Diverging from the norm seen in many global rose competitions, where experts take the judging reins, the New Zealand Rose of the Year contest has embraced a unique approach since 2004—it's evaluated by the public. During the festival, attendees are encouraged to handpick their personal top five favourites from a pool of approximately 80 entries.

Visit the Rogers Rose Garden's

The Rogers Rose Garden's story is one of teamwork and perseverance, turning a dream into reality despite challenges. Its history is rich, with partnerships and events that have become integral to its legacy. Come and experience the unique charm and heritage of the Rogers Rose Garden at Hamilton Gardens today.

Looking across the garden beds towards the fountain in the Italian Renaissance Garden at Hamilton Gardens

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