Garden Leader to Leave Lasting Legacy

Greg Rine is hanging up his secateurs after decades turning his visions into reality at Taranaki’s renowned regional gardens.

Greg Rine is hanging up his secateurs after decades turning his visions into reality at Taranaki’s renowned regional gardens.

Greg has been the Regional Gardens Manager for 28 years, overseeing the Taranaki Regional Council-owned Pukeiti, Tūpare and Hollard Gardens.

A visionary at heart, Greg oversaw significant improvements to Pukeiti from 2014 to 2016 with the building of several large treehouses to form a kids’ treehouse trail, a self-guided activity through the gardens. Other transformational projects at Pukeiti in recent years include the Rainforest Centre, elevated walkways, Pukeiti Lodge, Piwakawaka Hut in the Pukeiti Rainforest and a fitness trail. All have added to the magic of Pukeiti, broadening the range of offerings and making it a must-do experience for visitors.

Hollard Gardens highlights included the creation of the family corner with a playground, barbeques and kitchenette. Bernie’s home garden was another of Greg’s ambitious projects, where vegetable gardens, chickens, beehives, compost, worm farms, bug hotels and a food forest reside, a popular destination for school groups and workshops.

Greg’s gardening career stretches back to 1989 when, at age 27, he became a Gardener at Hollard Gardens, progressing to Gardens Manager of Hollard Gardens and Tūpare in 1994. The Council took over ownership of Pukeiti in 2010. With three gardens in his portfolio, Greg was excited by the possibilities.

“It was a fantastic opportunity to create experiences through the public gardens for the community and visitors to our region to enjoy.”

Greg looks back at his time in the gardens with fondness, but is hesitant to name a favourite.

“Transforming the Regional Gardens into quality public gardens that the whole community can enjoy and be proud of and seeing people out in the gardens, enjoying the fruits of your labour so to speak, is a memory that resonates the most.

“Asking which garden is my favourite is like asking me which child is my favourite! I don’t have one because the first time you step into a garden, each one holds a special connection, a special memory, and I hold each one with me.”

Council Director-Operations Daniel Harrison thanked Greg for his dedicated service and says his work has had significant regional impact.

“Taranaki’s Regional Gardens are of the highest calibre, gardens that are truly world class, thanks to the vision, drive, and artistry that Greg has translated into action.

“Greg's legacy to the Taranaki region is immense and brings joy to thousands.”

As recruitment for his role begins, Greg gives practical advice to his successor.

“Be hungry and be patient. Take your time to truly own it, and with a fantastic team supporting you, you will be able to do just that.”

Greg will now enjoy life at a slower pace, focusing on passion projects in farming and consultation.