New plantings in the Taihape town gardens have transformed the look of the town centre.

The plantings are New Zealand natives that have been brought in from the wild and are becoming part of the town and the neighbourhood.

The programme has been led by Rangitīkei District Council's parks and reserves team leader Athol Sanson and council is funding the project with the Taihape Community Board and the Keep Taihape Beautiful group.

Sanson said the idea was to bring plants already native to the Taihape area into town and construct gardens using them, starting at the northern or town clock corner of State Highway 1.


So far 10 varieties have been planned for eight gardens once the ground had been cleared.

"They will be grown from nursery-supplied seeds or plants.The current gardens have become very tired and are starting to obscure visibility from car parks and pedestrian crossings and they didn't really suit the Taihape environment and landscape," Sanson said.

The chosen plants will be low-growing and used to the local climate which is dry in the summer and cold in the winter.

But the extremes didn't suit a lot of plants, Sanson said. "Which is why we've had to be careful in choosing what to put in the ground."

Sanson has a background in New Zealand native plants.

"We all agreed that Taihape has its own unique identity and our gardens should reflect that so the plants chosen for the gardens grow naturally in the Taihape region and are prized for landscaping throughout the country as well."

There was even a motto coined for the exercise: "Right plant for the right location".

"It's very fitting. The gardens already look good but they are going to look amazing."