© 2019 Titahi Bay Horticultural Society 

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Gill Palmer


I grew up on a dairy farm in Taranaki and my parents were keen gardeners. Our family walked around the garden often, talking about the flowers. Thus my love of gardening was fostered. I now live in an 1860’s cottage in Paremata, Porirua. The cottage garden there was already lovely and I have added my own touches, such as a pond and a fairy garden for the grand children. They also love walking around with me learning the names of flowers – and picking them! I have been President of the Titahi Bay Horticultural Society since May 2016. I particularly enjoy the friendly members, the Spring Flower show and the ways our Society can encourage others to love gardening as well.

Robyn Gibson

Vice President

Robyn was born and raised in Auckland and started gardening when she was at primary school, with a cactus garden. Marriage and a move to Christchurch meant gardening on highly fertile soil, which she loved. She joined the Canterbury Herb Society, serving on the committee. On moving to Wellington she joined the Wellington Epiphyllum and Hoya Society, serving on the committee for many years. She joined the Titahi Bay Horticultural Society and is currently serving as the librarian. Over the years Robyn has grown collections of lavender, scented leaved pelargoniums and fuchsias. Current passions are daffodils, bearded irises, dahlias and, of course, herbs.

Martin McKendrick

Honorary Vice President / Show Convenor

I started gardening at the age of five: sowed one apple seed by the front door. (Still growing). I managed neighbours’ gardens in Edinburgh until I started working with computers. I also managed friends’ gardens in Birmingham until I emigrated to New Zealand in 1971, settling in Porirua. I joined the Titahi Bay Horticultural Society in 1974, with a newly-built home and section in Onepoto. My roles have included exhibiting and assisting with selling plants at flower shows; helping organize visits to members’ gardens; managing pea straw deliveries and arranging visiting speakers. I have served on the committee as newsletter editor, flower show convenor, vice president, acting president on Cleo’s death, then president, vice president and now honorary vice president. I have also been awarded honorary life membership.

Lorraine Arnold

Committee Member

I hail from the sunny Hawkes Bay and have lived all of my married life in Wellington settled with my Husband, two children, two elderly dogs and one cat in Titahi Bay. I have an inherited interest in gardening past down by my grandparents and great grandparents. My grandparents were always busy in their garden and I spent many a summers day under the fruit trees eating their delightful produce. My great grandparents were Market gardeners who when they first arrived in New Zealand settled in Lyttelton. Early childhood memories of helping out in my grandparent’s vegetable patch sowed the seeds for my current dream of reaping the benefits of a well established food producing garden. It was my dear friend Gwen Skinner who introduced me to the Titahi Bay Horticultural Society and I continue to enjoy our monthly meetings and have learnt so much from the many knowledgeable members.

Jessica Barnes

Committee Member

I've always spent time in the garden. As a kid growing up in the Canadian prairies I reluctantly pulled weeds and enthusiastically ate sweet peas from my mothers large veggie garden. After university I spent time working on an organic collective urban farm and immersing myself in the dynamic world of permaculture. I love the many aspects of gardening from horticultural therapy to the power of a community garden. I live in Titahi Bay now with my partner and two tamariki, slowly developing a food forest on our small urban lot. 

Lyndel Borrie


All my ancestors have loved gardening. It is in our genes. The urge is irresistible. In the early 40’s I remember potting up with my grandmother to raise funds for the war effort. Her interest inspired my childhood garden of succulents and cacti. Now I grow any plants that can stand salt wind and are interesting, different or beautiful and try to combine them so they look good together and give colour all year. 
Gardening for me is happiness, satisfaction, inspiration – whether it is potting up, planting out, constructing new areas or searching for new plants. There is always something to look forward to in a garden. With my hands in the soil I feel connected to nature and the universe.

Karen Blyde


My name is Karen Blyde and together with my family, I have lived very close to the beach in Titahi Bay for nearly 30 years.  Living by the sea makes for challenging growing conditions.  My main interest is growing flowers for picking. I’m especially fond of roses. When my parents-in-law moved in next door to us they brought along an abundance of roses which have grown surprisingly well at the back of our house, sheltered from the wind and sea spray.  Although I am very keen on gardening I am very much a learner and have found joining the Horticultural Society to be very enjoyable and helpful.

Margaret Kuper

Committee Member

I have been a Public Servant for over 30 years. I joined the Horticultural Society as my mother had been very fond of gardening for many years and I thought it would be a good outing for her to be amongst other enthusiasts. I  ended up being a member of the society myself for many years. I particularly enjoy garden visits, such as the Taranaki Garden Festival, Wairarapa gardens, our trip to Cross Hills, and of course visits to local gardens of our members. Garden shows and A&P shows are highlights. Irises are a favourite of mine and I am a member of the NZ Iris Society. They have a four-day convention in Palmerston North in 2017 including garden visits and a special dinner.

Peter Phipps

Committee Member

Basically when I was growing up my father had a vegetable garden in Island Bay and the vegetables we ate came from the garden. I have always had an interest in plants. I had some cacti and carnivorous plants when I was young. When I bought my first house I built flower gardens. I like unusual plants, something a bit different, like Arisaema (Cobra Lilies) and Asarum species. I have the New Zealand National Certificate in Horticulture that I completed through Taratahi. In my current house I have created both flower and vegetable gardens, using my horticultural knowledge to improve the soil so plants grow well now. I also enjoy landscaping and have created raised garden beds and paved areas for relaxation. I enjoy being a committee member of TBHS.

Margaret Seconi

Committee Member

Raised in Carterton, with a Mother who was secretary/ treasurer and show secretary of the local Horticultural Society and the WI district floral art demonstrator, meant that flower shows are part of my life. There, Don Bramley encouraged me to grow and show daffodils. In 1970 I married and moved to Lower Hutt and joined the HVHS. 40 years ago George and I moved to Whitby, began creating soil and planted a new garden including a daffodil plot. We also joined the Titahi Bay Horticultural Society. Unfortunately, evening class work prevents me from attending many meetings. I’m now the Wellington Rep. for the NDSNZ as well as a judge and its Publicity officer.

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Mike Tana

Mayor of Porirua

Mike Tana was elected Mayor of Porirua in October 2016. Prior to becoming mayor he was President of the 62,000-member Public Service Association, while carrying out his ‘day-job’ as a senior biosecurity adviser for the Ministry of Primary Industries.

He holds a Bachelor of Agriculture Science, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Māori Resource Development, from Massey University.

Mike was born and raised in Matakohe, near Ruawai in Northland.  He has lived in Porirua for nearly 15 years – since returning to New Zealand after six years living in the United Kingdom.

He has served on school and kohanga reo boards, worked with at risk youth, and played lots of sport in the city.

Mike is a full-time Mayor in Porirua and says it is a privilege to work in and for a city he loves.

He keeps fit by testing out some of the fine facilities that Porirua has to offer – boxing at the Canons Creek Gym, riding the Grand Traverse and, against better advice, the occasional rugby game for the Paramata Plimmerton Presidents team.

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