A “Maori Garden” in is being officially opened in France on May 30, to coincide with Matariki.
The Te Putake project has been led by a Ngai Tahu team working in partnership with a team from the renowned Moselle Conseil General Fruit Gardens in Laquenexy, Moselle, in north-eastern France. (The French name is prettier, Jardins Fruitiers.)
The leader of the Kiwi team is Tutehounuku (Nuk) Korako, who was project manager of the award-winning Te Waipounamu Garden at the 2010 Ellerslie International Flower Show. His team includes Ngai Tahu architect Perry Royal and master carver Riki Manuel (Ngati Porou).
The French team is led by garden designer Pascal Garbe, who is the project manager for the Gardens Policy with the Moselle Conseil General. He was International Garden Tourism Person of the Year in 2011 in North America and star judge at the Ellerslie International Flower Show in 2011.
The garden features native totara and kauri carvings from wood and rock sourced from destroyed buildings within the Christchurch, Lyttelton and Rapaki earthquake zones.
There will also be a 120kg pounamu boulder from the West Coast, a 53,000-year-old kauri stump from Kaipara, and three mauri (spiritual) stones sourced from Shag Rock (Sumner), a pa site in the Christchurch CBD and Lyttelton Harbour.
The garden will be a permanent fixture within the Fruit Gardens which already feature the Canadian First Nations Garden, Ohtehra, created in 2010.
Read more about Te Putake and see a concept design here.