Mayor Paula Southgate and Egyptian Ambassador Her Excellency Mrs Dina Farouk El Sehy will officially open the Ancient Egyptian Garden and adjacent Palm Court and toilets at a ceremony on Monday to be attended by elected members, maangai maaori, sponsors and supporters.
Mayor Paula Southgate says Hamilton Gardens continued to be a unique and internationally acclaimed attraction for Hamilton. On Easter Sunday, more that 4,000 people visited the enclosed gardens in just one day.
“Our gardens are absolutely stunning by world standards, there’s no doubt about that it,” Mayor Southgate said.
“I’m constantly getting comments, both visitors and from people in our city because there is simply no other garden that manages to combine history, culture and gardens quite so well. It’s a credit to our staff and to everyone else involved,” she said.
“There’s no doubt Hamilton Gardens is one of our most treasured open spaces and the new Ancient Egyptian Garden is going to make a wonderful space even better.”
Hamilton Gardens Director Lucy Ryan said she’s excited to welcome visitors to this much anticipated, first-of-its-kind garden.
“Archaeologists know a lot about what these ancient gardens looked like, but we believe Hamilton Gardens is the first to recreate an Ancient Egyptian Garden,” said Ryan.
“For ancient Egyptians, life on earth was a preparation for the dangerous journey into the afterlife. Temples and their gardens were a meeting place between heaven, earth, and the underworld.
The Temple Garden at Hamilton Gardens is based on a typical temple from the Middle Kingdom period (2040 BCE to 1782 BCE). Temple gardens produced the floral, vegetable and fruit offerings for these sacred rituals. They grew the plants used in perfumes for anointing statues to the gods and garlands of flowers for religious processions.
“Temple compounds all shared a similar, highly symbolic design. They were enclosed by high walls. The gardens featured a central, rectangular pool, with pergolas covered in grape vines and rows of trees often linked with irrigation channels,” said Ryan.
The opening of the Palm Court also means people can now hire the Hamilton Club Summerhouse for private events. The new toilets in the Palm Court are a much-needed addition to the Enclosed Gardens thanks to 50% funding from the Tourism Infrastructure Fund.
The opening of the Ancient Egyptian Garden marks the earliest garden in Hamilton Gardens concept, telling the 4000-year story of gardens and civilisations from 2040BCE to now.
Gardens in ancient Egyptian times were sacred spaces that very few ordinary Egyptians would ever have been allowed to enter. This garden has been chosen to tell the story of how a belief in the afterlife has shaped human culture from the earliest times.
The Ancient Egyptian Garden will form part of the ‘Productive Garden collection’ at the Hamilton Gardens, a collection of productive gardens that each address aspects of the relationship between people and plants.
Hamilton Gardens is currently free for all visitors and open 10am to 5pm every day except Christmas Day.