News | 11 March 2016

First spade of earth turned for Children's Garden

The Mayor and guests gathered today for the official ground breaking of the Children’s Garden in the Wellington Botanic Gardens.

Group of children and the Mayor digging with spades underneath a tree.
The Mayor and guests at the Children's Garden in the Wellington Botantic Gardens

The idea for the Children’s Garden is championed by the Friends of the Wellington Botanic Garden who wanted to ensure future generations of Wellingtonians are able to connect with nature.

Mayor Celia-Wade Brown says she is delighted a children’s garden will be available for future generations.

“The garden will involve children in learning about our dependence on plants for food, fibre, construction and medicine,” she says. ”Sustainable cities enable children to connect with the natural world every day.”

“An environmental educator is already on board working with schools and is developing interpretations and programmes for the Children’s Garden.”

“This teaching space will connect with community and school gardens,” she says.

The design has been developed over the last two years following workshops with children, staff, and kaumatua of Taranaki Whanui. It is loosely based on the principles and concepts of other children’s gardens around the world including those in New York and Melbourne.

The design is accessible to a wide range of users and includes unassisted wheelchair access to the main pavilion area and assisted wheelchair access through much of the garden.

The Norwood family have long been generous supporters and benefactors to the Botanic Garden and John Norwood says they are pleased to support the building of the Children’s Garden.

“We have many happy memories of the Botanic Garden and have seen the pleasure that it has brought to Wellingtonians and visitors over the years” he says.

“The plants in the Children’s Garden will continue to give enjoyable and memorable experiences for children and families for years to come,” he says.

The ground breaking marks the beginning of the construction for stage one, which includes the basic infrastructure and services, the Learning Pavilion foundations and teaching elements of the garden.

Additional features such as a rain garden, treepods, insect hotels and outdoor picnic facilities will follow in stages two and three as funds are raised. The garden will be ready to receive its first visitors, young and old, later this year.