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Tropical Wateer Lilly
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public garden

The Sculpture Park at Waitakaruru Arboretum

207 Scotsman Valley Rd, Tauwhare, RD 7 Hamilton, Waikato.


The Sculpture Park at Waitakaruru Arboretum is a former quarry transformed into a 17.5-hectare arboretum with more than 30,000 trees from around the world. The rehabilitation started 32 years ago in 1991. Its 2km art-in-nature trail highlights over 100 sculptures and installations within one of New Zealand’s most extensive outdoor galleries.  It is set within a landscape of cliffs, ponds, rocks, and sweeping views over the Waikato. Along the trail, visitors discover trees and shrubs planted in featured geographic areas with representing species from Latin America, Asia, Australia, the United States, and New Zealand.
The sustainability of nature and art are the driving forces of the park. The arboretum is a permanent forest sink under the Emissions Trading Scheme and, as such, its tree cover is protected long-term for carbon sequestration by covenant on its titles.


The Gardener

The owners, John and Dorothy Wakeling, initiated this 32-year-long rehabilitation project.  The park is now run by the Art-in-Nature Arboretum Trust. John Wakeling was an arborist/consultant who has advised local authorities throughout New Zealand. He is now the honorary arboretum curator and is on the board of the Trust.  Dorothy Wakeling was an environmental planner and commissioner at the time that they decided to find a derelict site to rehabilitate.  She continues to be involved as the secretary for the Trust. 

Their mutual interest in art led to running sculpture exhibitions starting in 2005 and accumulating a sculpture collection as the tree planting beautified and overcame the harsh growing conditions of the former quarry.
The park now employs some full-time and part-time staff. There are also a few volunteers who contribute time and effort. The park is a training site for Wintec horticulture and arboriculture students.  

Garden Size

This 17.5-hectare park displays more than 100 sculptures and installations along its 2km nature trail.

Other Facilities

John Wakeling is the founder of the Sculpture Park at Waitakaruru Arboretum, a 32-year project of restoration.  John’s passion for trees and other plants stems from his international experience in arboriculture and the study of gardens around the world. He shares his botanical knowledge on this 2 hour tour which showcases the seasonal highlights of the park. The tour takes you along the 2km art-in-nature trail.  To get a taste of a botanical tour with John, please follow this link to our Botanical Highlights https://www.facebook.com/watch/100064656225289/828231008753065/  At the end of your walk  with John, relax at the café with a complimentary tea or coffee  (Tours are held on first & third Sunday of month -- to book go to https://www.sculpturepark.co.nz/cart/new)

We also provide morning teas and lunches for groups visiting the park.  Please book ahead by emailing Sue Devonshire at info@sculpturepark.co.nz

Here is a link to some of our videos.  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzZ6pzPnlOWyGYgmfdMJ5xQ


  • Accommodation
    The Ruru's Rest Retreat is in the heart of the park. The cottage provides a unique opportunity to enjoy the park before and after opening hours. It is set adjacent to a lily pond. It can be booked on the AirBnB website. https://www.airbnb.co.nz/manage-your-space/921155036748805845/details
  • Price
    15yrs plus: $15.00, 5 – 14yrs: $5.00,
  • Parking
    We have a bus bay and a large carpark. We also encourage cyclists and have a sculptural bike stand for your convenience.
  • Wheelchair Access
    Because of its terrain, the grounds have limited wheelchair access.
  • Dogs allowed?
    In general, dogs aren't allowed entry to the park. This is for environmental and safety reasons. The Trust runs a dog walk day every fourth Sunday of the month.
  • Food available?
    Yes, the cafe is open at weekends. On weekdays we take bookings for morning teas and lunches from groups. Email Sue Devonshire at info@sculpturepark.co.nz for more information.
  • Cafe/Restaurant available?
    Weekends and by bookings other days.
  • Picnics
    Yes, you can bring picnics to enjoy in many locations throughout the park.
  • Children allowed?
    This art-in-nature experience aims to inspire imaginations, nourish inquisitive minds, and provide for creative learning in an accessible wilderness environment. The park provides a diverse range of family activities for all ages to enjoy, including 'Find the Roosting Ruru' and raft-making from natural materials.
  • Toilets?
  • Seating
    We have seating for 50 people.
  • Plants/Sales
    The Ruru's Nest Gift Shop provides visitors with the opportunity to purchase items to treasure or give away: many of the gifts in the shop highlight the theme of our native owl.
  • Guided Tours
    The Arboretum Curator, John Wakeling, conducts some 2 hour guided tours, these can be booked through the shop on our website . https://www.sculpturepark.co.nz/cart/new
  • Weddings

    There are some splendid locations for weddings in the park. 


207 Scotsman Valley Rd, Tauwhare, RD 7 Hamilton, Waikato.

Located in the heart of Waikato 15kms east of Hamilton, the Park is situated between Hamilton, Cambridge and Morrinsville. It is signposted from Tauwhare and from Matangi.