Puketarata Garden

Ken and Jennifer Horner, both from South Taranaki, have spent the last 35 years creating what is now Puketarata Garden. They excavated a platform for the house to gain shelter from the southerly winds and planted out the westerly. The property was developed as a family home, for their three children with a large lawn and tennis court.

While a science teacher at the local Hawera High School for many years, Jennifer had no formal garden training but has always loved gardening. “It’s in my DNA!” says Jennifer, her grandparents Griff and Louie Williams were very keen gardeners. They developed a four acre garden at Ohangai which opened at Labour Weekend in the 1950’s as a fund-raiser for Plunket. Griff was the founding Chairman of Pukeiti.

Jennifer strives to have a strong New Zealand focus to her garden, as she feels it compliments the wider landscape, a focus on greens, texture, bronze and silver, a restful environment which wraps around.

Much of the garden has been planned to be viewed from within the house. They live in their garden.

All this is made easy with the wonderful friable, free draining volcanic soil, egmont loam, temperate, climate and regular rainfall.

They are currently improving access into & around the gully below. Planting started there in 1978.




Bare hillside property of 20 acres purchased. Gully fenced off from stock, shelter belts established – many plants grown from seedlings & cuttings. 


Platform excavated for House – completed in 1983. Architect Paul Seton, bricks from the Patea Town Hall & interior doors from the Opunake Covent. 


Main lawn & gardens established.


Grass tennis court & haha.


Ponga wall & sundial area 1992, western terrace extended 1994.


Garden first opened in 1995 Rhododenron Festival & since 2008 the Taranaki Garden Festival.


2002 built shed, berry house 2006.


Garden on show at Powerco Taranaki Garden Festival




puketarata garden historical photos