Prince of Wales opens Potter Children’s Garden
Press Release: Auckland Regional Council
10 March 2005
The Prince of Wales ended his brief New Zealand visit by opening the Potter Children’s Garden at Auckland Botanic Gardens in Manurewa today.
His Royal Highness toured the garden accompanied by the Governor-General Dame Silvia Cartwright, ARC Chairman Michael Lee and Auckland Botanic Gardens Curator / Manager Jack Hobbs.
Children from Manurewa Central School brought the Potter Children’s Garden to life with performances and presentations, before His Royal Highness unveiled a plaque to open the garden. Pupils from The Gardens School, Hill Park School and Cornwall Park School then combined to farewell The Prince of Wales with a waiata.
ARC Chairman Michael Lee says today’s opening was a very special occasion for all involved.
“The Prince of Wales has been focusing on conservation, environment, agriculture and education while he has been in New Zealand so this occasion was a fitting finale for him and a great honour for us,” Cr Lee says.
Cr Lee says today’s opening would not have been possible without the support of the Potter Masonic Trust, administered by Freemasons New Zealand, which gifted the Potter Children’s Garden to the people of Auckland.
Freemason and Trustee Joe McManemin says the Potter Masonic Trust is named after Frederick Potter (1857 – 1941) who dedicated his life to helping young people, despite having no children of his own.
“This is a project we in the Freemasons believe will be of enormous benefit to the young people of Auckland and fits perfectly with Potter’s vision of helping young people,” Mr McManemin says.
The Potter Children’s Garden aims to introduce children to the wonders of New Zealand plants and animals through their relationship, especially between the puriri, kereru (native wood pigeon) and mokoroa (the puriri moth).
A major feature is the Mythological Maze of Maui, a gold award winning exhibit at last year’s Ellerslie Flower Show. This secret garden tells the Maori legend of Maui, the kereru, the puriri and Maui’s parents.
ARC Parks and Heritage Committee Chair Sandra Coney says the Potter Children’s Garden is a great innovation and a creative garden that is sure to capture children’s imagination.
“It will be a marvellous education resource for the 8000 children who do curriculum-based environmental education programmes here at Botanic Gardens every year,” Cr Coney says.
“It is also an important facility to help encourage children to get outside, ‘push play’ and learn while they are having fun.”
The Potter Children’s Garden is one of several recent developments at the Auckland Botanic Gardens. The most significant of these is the landmark new Visitor Centre which opens its doors to the public in April.