The Pukekura Park Fernery is getting ready for an exceptionally enchanting summer season, including its 90th anniversary.
The New Plymouth District Council-run Fernery will be a big attraction of the TSB Festival of Lights, which runs from 16 December to 5 February.
The Fernery, which normally shuts at 4pm, will reopen at 8pm during the festival and is expected to draw about 1,000 people a night, said NPDC Chief Operating Officer Kelvin Wright.
“The Fernery’s iconic tunnels will come to life at night, and the festival will illuminate aspects of the display houses that aren’t usually noticeable in the daylight,” said Mr Wright.
“The Fernery is arguably one of the most stunning features of its type in New Zealand. We have a collection of more than 50,000 plants there, some of them quite rare, and the displays are constantly changing so there’s always something new to see.”
This summer will also see the Fernery mark the 90th anniversary of its opening on 28 January.
First proposed in 1918 to house a collection of native ferns, construction began in 1928 and it has been added to and upgraded over the years, most recently in 2013, when new staff offices, a potting shed and propagation houses were completed.
It will also feature its traditional Christmas tree this year and staff are preparing a variety of red-flowering and silver plants for a splash of festive colour.
Staff have also been busy keeping the Fernery open an extra hour each day during the Powerco Taranaki Garden Spectacular from 27 October to 5 November.
The TSB Festival of Lights each year attracts more than 100,000 people to Pukekura Park to enjoy New Zealand’s leading light festival, music and family fun.