Puketarata Garden

Ken and Jennifer Horner, both from South Taranaki, purchased their property (paddocks & remnant bush) in 1978 & created Puketarata Garden around their house which was built in 1983.

They excavated a platform for the house to gain shelter from the southerly winds and planted out the westerly. 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 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 provide 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 egmont loam soil, temperate climate and regular rainfall. Take time to explore and enjoy the regenerating bush via a series of paths. In 2014 the 5 acres/1.9 hectares of gully was accepted for a QEII Open space Covenant.

Planting in the gully/bush below started in 1978 and continues today. We have since  improved the access, with a series of paths to help protect the area.




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 Convent. 


Main lawn & gardens established.


Grass tennis court & haha.


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


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


Built shed


Built berry house


Built sheep yards


Protecting our gully of bush – 1.9 hectares of semi coastal modified primary forest accepted by the QEII National Trust Board for an Open Space Covenant. We have a network of tracks throughout the gully and continue to plant the area.


New brick entrance to the property.




Timeline Gallery