The word ‘Kotare’ greets you on the stone-walled entrance to this expansive and thoughtfully created garden that mixes informal and formal with ease.

Kotare (Kingfisher) have flitted about the gardens of Amanda and John Perham wherever they have lived, and the couple have become very attached to this sweet little blue and green bird.

Punctuating the open spaces of Kotare Garden in Carterton are several stunning sculptures, thoughtfully placed to enhance their natural surrounds. Many have been created by local artist Sean Crawford.


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Together, over the last 12 years, the Perhams have transformed a paddock into a well-established country garden. First, they planted shelterbelts to create structural borders offering colour and texture. Layered beneath are repeat plantings of hydrangeas, lilies, peonies and roses.

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In Autumn, the change in seasons is captured in the leaves of the many deciduous plantings; golden yellow gingkos and rusty reds from the oak-lined driveway.

There are productive plantings too. Waratahs, usually hard to grow in the Wairarapa thrive in this garden and are grown to sell. Spray-free orchard fruits, feijoas, hazelnuts and veges also flourish here.

We’re excited to be sharing this delightfully soothing and tranquil garden for the very first time on the Pukaha Garden Tour. It’s worth taking your time to soak up the surrounds, listen to the birds and enjoy the art in the garden. The lawns offer great picnic opportunities too.