Gnomes wanted for Woodlands fundays



Woodlands Historic Estate has put the call out for garden gnomes. The Victorian homestead in Gordonton is hosting the inaugural Pioneer Fundays festival and wants to add spice to the garden.

old gnome“We’re on the hunt for old garden gnomes so we can create some fun in our gardens. In particular we want them in place for the Fundays coming up in July,” says Woodlands Estate manager Kirstie Alley.

They are also on the look-out for old outdoor games, such as bowls, skittles, stilts, skipping ropes and hula hoops.

“These are for the kids to play with on the Oval outside Prof’s, although adults might be able to partake as well,” she says.

The three-day event takes place in the last week of the school holidays (Tuesday 18 – Thursday 20 July) and will celebrate the history of the Gordonton district, centred upon the Woodlands Estate which was developed from the 1870s.

“It will also be a lot of fun – there will be vintage farm machinery, vintage games and pioneer refreshments. Our local Cornerstone Alpacas and donkeys from the Awapuni Donkey stud will be on site.”

The Pioneer Fundays is the first in a series of events the new Woodlands Trust Board plan to hold. “Watch this space, we’re busy developing a lot more ideas to help showcase the estate.”

Woodlands garden trail
The new Garden Trail map, by Jacquie Haselden.

A Garden Trail has been developed for the three days, and this is where the call for garden gnomes comes in.

New board member and Prof’s Café owner Kate Wilson says they want to make the estate more accessible to all.

“In developing it we want to add items of mystery, interest and delight. While the plans are long-term and thought out, the gnomes add some fun in the short term and will encourage exploration in the gardens.”

There is just one gnome currently at Woodlands, she says. “And he’s hiding behind a picket fence. We’re hoping to get a good number – they can be loaned to us on a temporary basis, but donation is better! We do have eight acres of gardens to populate.”

Chris Smith's gnome
Historic gnome – this little chap used to grace the window of the Trading Post in Gordonton. Painted by Chris Smith.

Graeme Cairns of McGillicuddy Street Theatre will be performing his show Grave Era, a guided tour around a ‘Victorian cemetery’.  “It will uncover the unusual lives and even more unusual deaths of six quirky personalities from that era.”  Expect the unexpected, he says.

Kirstie Alley says she is excited and daunted – “Time is running out to get things ready but we’re making great progress. It will be great, something for the local community and far wider to come and enjoy and take part in.

“And we’re very excited about building it into a bigger event next year.”

  • The inaugural Woodlands Pioneer Fundays are being held from Tuesday 18 – Thursday 20 July. For further information phone 07 824 3687 or email the office.
  • For an N8N story on the history of garden gnomes in New Zealand, click here.
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Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

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