Garden Tours

For those who have a particular interest in gardens we recommend getting in touch to arrange a specialized garden tour. The Elms | Te Papa Tauranga gardens have achieved certificate in recognition as a Garden of National Significance from NZ Gardens Trust.  Pre-bookings are essential, groups welcome. Contact :

History of The Elms | Te Papa Tauranga Garden

The Elms | Te Papa Tauranga garden is one of the oldest New Zealand European gardens south of the Bay of Islands. Originally created by the Church Missionary Society (CMS) between 1834-1844, as were The Treaty House gardens at Waitangi. Both The Elms | Te Papa Tauranga and The Treaty House Gardens retain some of the insitu, Maori and European cultivated vegetation with considerable archaeological landscape content. The landscape archaeology is now perhaps the most valuable resource to be preserved for understanding more fully the history of this place.

When Te Papa Mission Station first opened, the peninsula was covered with manuka and fern, without trees for beauty, shade or firewood. However, Alfred and Charlotte Brown soon got to work and enjoyed gardening in the favorable Tauranga conditions. Brown’s journal is full of references to gardening: “planting out lettuces, pruning 32 fruit trees, planting out cuttings, sowing peas and beans, preparing and planting raspberry bed, transplanting trees.”

Notably, the Oak Tree at the corner of the north lawn grew from an acorn brought from England by Rev. Brown in 1829. It was originally planted in Paihia and transplanted here as a sapling in 1838. It is the oldest living tree on the property and a significant heritage tree in Tauranga today.

The Maxwell family continued to tend and develop the gardens in the years that they lived here.