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Time for secret garden to have management make-over

Dec 7th, 2013 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

trubykingMAIN01A PICTURESQUE slice of history described as Wellington’s best kept “secret garden” is under review by the city council.

The Truby-King Park is an historic reserve and heritage area in Melrose and was once the home of Sir Frederic and Lady Isabella Truby-King, founders of the New Zealand Plunket Society.

They are now buried in a mausoleum in the garden which Wellingtonian’s will get to have a say about.

“It certainly is Wellington’s secret garden,” said David Sole, whose management of the Botanic Gardens includes overseeing Truby-King Park.

The key factors that will be addressed in the new management plan include reassessing the park’s role and core values, finding a sustainable use for the house and determining the appropriate level of management for the garden.


TRUBY-KING HOUSE. Photo: Wellington City Council

Mr Sole said the park’s core values are heritage and culture.

The Plunket Society took over the property and next-door baby products factory and Karitane Hospital in 1932.

The house was used as a dormitory for senior nurses and has also been used as an office for the Plunket Society.

“Plunket represents a part of our social history which has touched almost all New Zealanders as babies and children,” Mr Sole said.

Sustainable uses for the house could be to promote it as a small museum and venue for special events, restore it for lease as a private residence, or to lease it to a compatible business.

The garden has extensive brick walls and arches – all designed by Sir Truby-King – and various groupings of trees and shrubs, mainly pines and rhododendrons.

These features are an important part of the park’s history and contribute to its authenticity and identity.

The new management plan will help show what level of restoration is achievable with the available resources.

The council has invested more than $750,000 in recovering the garden and protecting and restoring the house since it purchased the site in 1991.

Mr Sole said the level of future investment will depend on the level of use of the house and garden and the expectations of the community.

The council will approve a draft plan for public consultation in February and the final plan will be approved in August 2014.

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is a Whitireia journalism student originally hailing from Tauranga with a love for polar bears and airplanes. She is currently covering the Lyall Bay/Kilbirnie area of Wellington.
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