They say the wet weather is great for ducks and gardens.

How fitting then, that the heavens opened as members of the Te Puna Quarry Park and Bay of Plenty Rose Society gathered to plant a rose in honour of history maker Kate Sheppard.

The planting was held at the quarry yesterday as part of a tribute to Sheppard, 125 years after the Suffrage movement secured women the vote in New Zealand.

Te Puna Quarry Park volunteer Bev Monk said the reserve already had a historic rose garden, so the planting of the Kate Sheppard rose was a way "of putting her on the map, here in Te Puna".

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"It also recognises the two people who have done so much in the horticultural world."

Gertrude Jekyll and Ellen Willmott were two English horticulturalists who were honoured during Queen Victoria's Gold Celebrations. The Kate Sheppard rose was planted next to tributes to Jekyll and Willmott.

Monk said the planting was significant because of the rarity of the historic rose.

"It's about saving them for future generations. We've got roses going back to the 15th and 16th centuries. You can't just go out and buy them in a shop."

The rose is believed to be the only one in the Western Bay of Plenty and top rose grower Rob Somerfield was on hand to help plant it.

Monk paid tribute to the efforts of volunteers Ruth and Ed Dainty who spent countless hours of backbreaking work to transform what was a rocky patch of land into the beautiful historic rose garden of today.

"It's a beautiful garden. I think it's up there with some of the best botanical gardens in New Zealand," Monk said.

Ruth Dainty said she was proud to be part of the planting.

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"Being a mum of four daughters who grew up ... girls can do anything. This [the planting] is remembering those that have gone before us and who have made our lives easier," Dainty said.

"They were ahead of their time."

Te Puna Quarry Park volunteer and committee member Jo Dawkins said the Kate Sheppard rose helped add to the "oasis" the reserve was.

"It's a magic place."