Fifty years ago, the site of Hamilton Gardens was a bleak landscape with no indication of its past as a centre of Maaori settlement and horticulture.
The area had been used as a rifle range by Victorian era residents, and in the 20th century became a sand quarry and then the city's rubbish dump. Covered in weeds and blackberry bushes with seagulls circling above, it would've been hard to imagine the transformation ahead. With minimal budgets, volunteers and community groups have dedicated thousands of hours and resources to develop the barren 54 hectare site into a free public park.
Today, the award-winning Hamilton Gardens has five garden collections with more than 20 themed gardens and is the Waikato's most popular attraction with more than a million visitors every year.
The future of Hamilton Gardens
Imagine exploring the strange world of a Surrealist garden or meandering among Gothic ruins in an 18th Century Picturesque Garden...
Read more about the Hamilton Gardens Management Plan.
We need your support
Hamilton Gardens has been built on a long tradition of community support. For more than 40 years community groups and local trusts have worked alongside Hamilton City Council to transform the former rubbish dump into award winning gardens.
You can support the development of Hamilton Gardens through donating online and sponsorship. All donations to the Hamilton Gardens Development Trust are eligible for a tax rebate.
"The potential for this place is so exciting. I think this is the best-kept secret in New Zealand."
Sir Michael Hill, Patron Hamilton Gardens Development Trust
“The concept is, by far, the most exciting I have seen in my twenty-year career as a researcher in the field of garden tourism. Hamilton could join the ranks of the five international destination gardens... this is because the vision, as stated, is indeed unique in the world and visually spectacular.”
Professor Richard Benfield, Central Connecticut State University, World authority on Garden Tourism
“It’s unlike anywhere else in New Zealand or in the world. I have not been to a garden as good anywhere, and I mean anywhere. Immaculately presented. Just stunning. They’ve quietly created a revolutionary new garden under everyone’s noses.”
Lynda Hallinan, New Zealand’s leading garden writer
We are also grateful for the donations we have received from:
- Hamilton Club
- Vibrant Hamilton Trust
- E.B Firth Charitable Trust
- Sir Miles Warren
- David and Rae Braithwaite
- Jon and Sue Tanner via Momentum Waikato Community Foundation
- Bernie and Kaye Crosby via Momentum Waikato Community Foundation
- Bernice and Jenny Screech
- The Maber Family
- Julie, Kate, and Ken Williamson via Momentum Waikato Community Foundation
- Glenn and Catherine Holmes
- Richard and Jan Seabrook
- Richard and Sheryl Trench