The Garden | Luxury Eco Self-Contained Accommodation: Otago Peninsula, Dunedin

Hereweka means “snaring of the weka” - a native woodhen, sadly now locally extinct - and was named by the original Maori inhabitants of the peninsula. The name refers to the area around the prominent landmark called Harbour Cone, or Pukemata. In Maori oral history, a famous chief called Tarewai was wounded and captured in a tribal conflict, but escaped his captors and fled to the sanctuary of Hereweka - the forested slopes of Pukemata - and there rested, healing his wounds using the plentiful resources of the forest. He recovered fully and went on to defeat his enemies in battle.

Peter and Anna have continued the tradition of sanctuary in their garden of Hereweka.

Building an Ecological Sanctuary on Otago Peninsula

Although much of the native forest on the  Otago peninsula was cleared in the 19th century, miraculously a beautiful stand survived on the property. Including many ancient rimu trees, this is one of the two most significant areas of native forest left on the Otago Peninsula. Peter and Anna have protected it with a Queen Elizabeth II National Trust open space covenant and have developed walking tracks to enable people to enjoy it more fully.

The self contained property also contained several large Californian Monterey cypress (macrocarpa) trees, planted by an earlier owner. These were felled and milled, and Peter built the house from their timber. However, even before the house was begun, Anna and Peter started developing the garden. Organic principles were practiced from its inception. The vegetable garden and beds around the house were the first to be tackled. The garden slowly evolved and flourished outwards from the house site, eventually extending to its present several acres. Now open to the public and well known, it has been featured in most of New Zealand’s major garden magazines over the years, including recent editions of NZ House and Garden and the NZ Gardener. The garden is a member of the NZ Gardens Trust and has been recognised as a Garden of Regional Significance of Dunedin.

Hereweka Plant Nursery

Hereweka Garden has a  plant nursery with plants grown from the garden. From your luxury accommodation you can  wonder around the garden and if a plant takes your fancy it can usually be found in the Nursery.There are also many rare and interesting plants that have been grown from seed, sourced from all over the world. A catalogue can be requested on line


The Flora at Hereweka Garden Retreat, Otago Peninsula

Anna and Peter share a love of plants; a passion that is clearly evident in the composition and diversity of this harmonious and restful garden. Initially, several hundred rhododendrons, flowering cherries, magnolias and maples were planted, interspersed with larger trees and herbaceous perennials. Over the years the number and variety of plants in the garden has expanded as Anna and Peter’s interests and expertise has developed.

Peter’s passion and knowledge lie with the hundreds of trees planted on the property. A member of the International Dendrology Society, Peter has an excellent eye for form and structure as well as a thorough understanding of the ecological roles and habitat requirements of trees.

Anna’s skills complement Peter’s with her passion for detail and colour. She has underplanted the trees extensively with bulbs and woodland plants, as well as filling the large herbaceous borders with perennials, roses and many unusual shrubs.

An Ever Evolving Garden in a Spectacular New Zealand Setting 

The garden at Hereweka Garden Retreat continues to evolve. Recent developments include ponds, paths, and a little valley with a gondwana planting theme, including palms, cordylines and tree ferns.

We were privileged to be featured in NZ House & Garden.  Download the full feature article.
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