Teuila Fuatai

Teuila Fuatai is a reporter for the NZ Herald

Call to bring blooms back to Ellerslie

Auckland Racing Club expresses interest in returning flower show to original home.

The annual show, which shifted to Christchurch in 2009 after the Auckland City Council rejected funding for the event, was held at the Ellerslie Racecourse for three years. Photo / APN
The annual show, which shifted to Christchurch in 2009 after the Auckland City Council rejected funding for the event, was held at the Ellerslie Racecourse for three years. Photo / APN

Local supporters of the Ellerslie International Flower Show have offered a home in Auckland for the event, following an end to its six-year run in earthquake-hit Christchurch.

The Christchurch City Council confirmed yesterday the show would not be held in the Garden City next year because of financial problems.

The Auckland Racing Club has already put its hand up to hold the event at the Ellerslie Racecourse.

"We would be more than happy to work with whatever organisation, to look at all options to hold the flower show back at Ellerslie," club chief executive Cameron George said.

The annual show, which shifted to Christchurch in 2009 after the Auckland City Council rejected funding for the event, was held at the Ellerslie Racecourse for three years. It was moved to the Auckland Botanic Gardens in Manurewa in 1998.

Mr George said the racecourse "would be a wonderful location, not only from a namesake perspective, but just from being a centrally located place with plenty of area".

David Mee, the show's managing director, said Auckland was a strong option for a venue.

"There's a gap in the market in Auckland," he said. "Auckland city is the biggest city in the country and has probably the best capability of handling a show of that scale."

Problems in "post-earthquake Christchurch" such as a lack of accommodation facilities and activities for visitors were not issues in Auckland, Mr Mee said.

Former Manukau mayor Sir Barry Curtis supported having the show back at the Botanic Gardens.

"I think it needs to come back to the Auckland region. We had a magnificent home for it at the Botanic Gardens, none better in the Auckland region anywhere."

Funding for the show was likely to be another sore point, he said.

"Approaching charitable trusts and other sources of funding other than the local authority and trying to come to an arrangement on a partnership basis with the private sector" should be considered, Sir Barry said.

Botanic Gardens manager Jack Hobbs said with a little bit of work, the gardens could host the show again. "The Botanic Gardens is still a suitable site to host the Garden Show," he said.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown said he had no comment on the event "at this stage".

The council organisation in charge of city events - Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (Ateed) - said council funding for events had already been allocated for next year.

Fading flower show

Ellerslie International Flower Show, annual event
1994 First held at Ellerslie Racecourse.
1998 shifted to the Auckland Botanic Gardens in Manurewa.
2009 Moved to Christchurch.
2014 Christchurch City Council announces it will not be renewing the show's contract.

- NZ Herald

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