Architect gifts home and garden to NZ
Fri, 02 Nov 2012 6:33p.m.
By Annabelle Tukia
One of New Zealand’s most successful architects is gifting his home and garden to the country.
It’s no ordinary house. Sir Miles Warren's property Ohinetahi has been ranked as one of New Zealand’s best formal gardens.
It’s in Governor's Bay on Banks Peninsula near Lyttelton, and come Sunday it will belong to everyone.
Sir Miles has spent 36 years cultivating his garden. It's been a labour of love for this successful and influential architect.
“When an architect retires, one thing they long to do is keep building and so it’s been a great pleasure to work in an allied art.”
The sprawling arts-and-crafts styled garden covers one-and-a-half hectares, and is a massive undertaking to upkeep.
Sir Miles has set up the Ohinetahi charitable trust, gifting the property so it can be properly maintained and enjoyed by all.
“It’s the only way the garden could continue into the future, with two gardeners’ rates and insurance and the cost of plants and so on, it’s an expensive process.”
Many of the buildings Sir Miles designed in Christchurch, like the city library and the town hall, were badly damaged in the quakes, with some facing demolition.
His own category one historic homestead was also extensively damaged, but has been saved. It’s home to his extensive art collection and gallery.
Christchurch mayor Bob Parker is pleased about the gesture.
“It’s an incredibly generous thing to do. Here is a great Canterbury gentleman, a great New Zealand architect and a great benefactor to our city. It’s an act of huge generosity.”
Ohinetahi will be gifted to the people of New Zealand at a ceremony here on Sunday - after that will be open to the public.
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