David Muir, who has been in charge at the Whangarei Quarry Gardens, hoots at the title "head gardener".

It's a slightly grand moniker for the job, he thinks, but most people who have worked with him - volunteers, Whangarei Quarry Gardens Trust members, community organisations - know Mr Muir has been the go-to and the get-it-done man for more than 11 years.

It's been a shared labour of love, the growth of the gardens taking root in the community as well as the old quarry.

Mr Muir's leaving this week to plant out the next stage of his career, landscaping and garden project consultancy work.


"So, it's goodbye David, and hello David," Mr Muir said, introducing the new manager, David McDermott.

Mr McDermott has moved from Auckland to take the job. He has worked for over 10 years as a garden landscaper in New Zealand, the US and France, and more recently studied landscape architecture in Wellington.

"I'm really excited," Mr McDermott said. "So much of the hard structural landscaping has been done, I feel my job is to refine some of the direction as well as build on what's already here. I have my own aesthetic but with such a large site and established community involvement there's no way I would make big changes."

Mr McDermott will oversee the building of a new centre that will combine offices, cafe, shop, meeting rooms and classrooms, with work set to start in March.

Sad though he is to leave after many rewarding years, Mr Muir is looking forward to a change.

"The essence of it is that it's time for me to move on to something else," he said.