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A Brief History of Hamilton Gardens



In 1960, four acres of what had been Hamilton East Town Belt was passed over to Hamilton City Council for the purposes of a public garden. An opening ceremony for Hamilton Gardens was held on 24th July 1960. The design of this area was, and still is, firmly in the Gardenesque tradition, with specimen trees and flower beds set in flat lawns.

Left: The Town Belt was sometimes used as a rifle range by early colonial settlers.

In 1971 Hamilton was to host the first World Rose Convention. At that time Hamilton had rose gardens at the Lake Domain, but these were limited in size, so a new rose garden was established at Hamilton Gardens.It was named after Dr Denis Rogers, mayor of Hamilton from 1959 to 1968, seen at right planting the first rose.  Since 2001 the New Zealand Rose of the Year Trials and the Pacific Rose Bowl Festival have been held at the Rogers Rose Garden.

 In the late 1970s a new concept for Hamilton Gardens was developed. This new concept would see Hamilton Gardens depart from traditional botanic garden model, partially because of the proximity of Auckland Botanic Gardens. The focus of Hamilton Gardens was to be on garden design, rather than on botanical science.

 This concept was developed throughout the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, with the current garden collection structure being established and built upon. The first of the Paradise Gardens were opened in 1992.

Below: the opening ceremony for the Chinese Scholars Garden