Roses are deeply rooted in Northland's history and their story is being kept well nurtured by Northland region of Heritage Roses NZ.

The work of the Northland region was recognised at the national conference held recently in Whangārei.

The Heritage Rose Gardens at the Kauri Museum at Matakohe received the Heritage Roses New Zealand Plaque award in recognition of a significant planting of heritage roses in a public garden.

The rose garden was planted in 2012 and 2013 with a grant from the Otago national executive supplemented by Tasman Bay Roses.

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The museum's heritage rose garden project was also supported by the Coates Memorial Church Board and Matakohe Cemetery Committee.

The 145 roses representing many heritage rose families are all labelled with dates and details and have become a living extension of the Kauri Museum and local pioneer history.

Among the plantings are some of the earliest roses to come to New Zealand, including Slater's Crimson China and Kazanlik, a very ancient rose from the Damask family famous for the attar of roses used in the world's perfume industry.

There are shrub roses and climbers on fences, tripods and pergolas, some of which are repeat flowering such as Crepuscule from the Noisette family.

Others have a summer flowering and then set rosehips for an autumn display, or the lovely white Rugosas with their beautiful white flowers, large tomato coloured hips and autumn coloured foliage.

The violet scented white banksiae alba plena which flowers in September, the ever-blooming General Gallieni and Souvenir de Mme Leonie Viennot from the tea rose family are some of many amazing roses growing in the museum's garden.

Before and after the planting project at the Coates Memorial Church attached to the Kauri Museum at Matakohe.
Before and after the planting project at the Coates Memorial Church attached to the Kauri Museum at Matakohe.
Before and after the planting project at the Coates Memorial Church attached to the Kauri Museum at Matakohe.
Before and after the planting project at the Coates Memorial Church attached to the Kauri Museum at Matakohe.

Staff and members of Northland Heritage Roses, many of whose members travel long distances to attend working bees, maintain the gardens which are a joint venture with The Kauri Museum.

In season or not, the rose garden is another attraction during family, club or social occasions at the unique Kauri Museum in Matakohe.

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Northland Heritage Roses president Olga Yuretich said the organisation is pleased to share the love of old roses as well as add to the museum's stories about the history of the kauri industry in Northland.

Other places to see heritage roses in Northland are Reyburn House, Whangārei Town Basin, Kemp House in Kerikeri and Pompallier Mission at Paihia.

These gardens are all visited for their historic value and the beauty of these roses is appreciated by thousands of international and local visitors every year.

Meanwhile, Northland rose enthusiast Robyn Carr-Smith was presented with a prestigious Service Award at the Heritage Roses New Zealand National Conference.

Olga Yuretich, left, with Robyn Carr- Smith after the presentation of her award at the Heritage Roses New Zealand national conference gala dinner.
Olga Yuretich, left, with Robyn Carr- Smith after the presentation of her award at the Heritage Roses New Zealand national conference gala dinner.

Carr-Smith, who has been a member for more than 30 years, received the award for her services to Northland Heritage Roses.

For the past two years she has been a national representative of the Northland-based national executive team. In her role, Carr-Smith worked closely with the national treasurer and regional conveners.

Northland president Olga Yuretich said Carr-Smith was involved in many events, ''usually working in the background getting jobs done quietly and efficiently''.

''Over many years Robyn has often been seen preparing and promoting our beloved old roses at the Northland Rose Show or helping out at the many working bees at the Kauri Museum rose gardens.''

In 2014 she was part of the Pilgrimage Committee which organised a tour of Northland, starting at Oihi at the Marsden Cross site to celebrate 200 years since the first roses purportedly arrived in New Zealand with Samuel Marsden and fellow missionaries in 1814.

The five-day tour travelled through Northland celebrating the roses and culture of early settlers.

For the inaugural New Zealand Flower and Garden Show, she took on the challenging role of designing Northland region of Heritage Roses NZ's garden to promote old roses to the public.

She designed the garden and also drove to Auckland with Yuretich to attend exhibitors' meetings.

''Thanks to Robyn's natural artistic flare for design, proportion, colour blending and meticulous attention to detail, Heritage Roses was awarded a Gold Medal for their design,'' Yuretich said.

Her fellow members said she is an extremely worthy recipient of the HRNZI Service Award which recognises a distinguished contribution toward fostering heritage roses.

''Her energy, willingness and calm efficiency is uplifting and she has been a pleasure to work with in promoting heritage roses in New Zealand.''