Hamilton Gardens director Dr Peter Sergel received the 2017 Royal Arch Masonic Centennial Award for overseas travel and research.
This prestigious grant does not have an application process, but rather the committee responsible looks around the country every two years for what they deem will be an overseas study investment that will benefit New Zealand. So while this grant was awarded to an individual, they have essentially recognised the national significance and potential of Hamilton Gardens.
Peter undertook this study trip in May and June 2018 visiting gardens, specialist libraries, museums and universities. One focus of the trip was learning more about the next group of gardens including the: Ancient Egyptian, European Picturesque, German Baroque, Medieval, Roman, English Landscape and French Parterre gardens. This involved trips to Egypt, England, France, Germany and Austria. He also met a number of garden managers to learn how some of the leading gardens in England, Singapore and America operate and address different issues. Towards the end of the trip, he presented a paper on Hamilton Gardens at an American Public Garden Conference.