Roland's Wood, already famous for its deciduous trees, drifts of bluebells and jonquils, might soon be as well known for lavender.

The 4.5ha woodland on Inlet Rd was gifted to the people and dogs of Kerikeri by the late Roland Sansom in 2001.

The adjoining 5.4ha, which he partly planted in the same style and left to his sister, Lavender Samson, who has since died, is now for sale.

Friends of Roland's Wood (FRW), a trust set up earlier this year to formally manage the existing park, wants to buy the adjacent block to keep the park sustainable.


To fund the plan, the trust is considering another kind of development project: selling off four of the 14 sections in long-planned and approved subdivision of Lavender's Land.

"In the mandate when we formed the trust, it was our intention to sell off four of those 14 sections," FRW chairman Simon Upperton said.

As a real estate agent and a former commercial banker, he has the background to oversee the required land and funding deals.

"We are at a critical stage of our campaign as we are now in negotiations with the owners in regards purchasing the land.

"Unfortunately we may not have the amount of time we would like to make the purchase, as the owners would like a relatively quick settlement.

"This puts pressure on us as a group, to raise as much funding in the form of donations and or other sources of bridge financing. The frustrating thing is that we have a self-funding model that pays for the project in two years."

FRW has secured $250,000 of bridge finance, a pledge of $20,000 that will be converted to a donation if matched by someone else, and has cash donations of $10,000.

It has also set up a Givealittle online fundraising page which has pulled in over $35,000. "We really need to get this to $80,000 to $100,000. If we can do that we can probably pull this thing off," Mr Upperton said.

The group also needs buy-in, not necessarily on a financial front, from Far North District Council, in whom FRW would vest the whole package, but with the trust's volunteers continuing to care for the site.

Mr Upperton said about 25 per cent of what is now considered Roland's Wood is part of the adjacent block and would be lost to the public if Lavender's Land were sold to a private party.

A small dog area, an agility course, a children's wooden adventure playground, picnic facilities and dog-free walking tracks are also in the mix if the trust buys Lavender's Land.