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.

Diana Kenny

Vice President

My parents were both avid gardeners as were my grandfathers. I have great memories of my paternal grandfather’s wonderful vege garden in Petone. It must have been mainly on sand, though there was a horse paddock next door which leads me to suspect good usage of the by-product, something I had to do myself when we moved to Titahi Bay in 1999.  What a transition that was from wonderful soil for Rhodos, Camellias and Maples to a salt wind environment where nothing but Coprosma seemed to grow. Mediterranean I had fondly thought, NO, Australian?  NO, all right then natives – but even they did not survive.  It has been the South African shrubs Leucospermum, Leucadendron, Clivia and the like which have thrived. This garden is not anything like I had envisioned but now that I am almost completely retired I trust I can sort it out. This is where the Horticultural Society comes in with great meetings, interesting speakers, wonderful away trips and welcoming members.

Lorraine Arnold

Vice President

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.

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.

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.

Robyn Gibson

Committee Member

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.

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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Geoff Hayward

Ngāti Whakaue



A resident of Titahi Bay, Geoff joined the Horticultural Society not long after moving to the Bay. 


He is a former Co-Chair of the Titahi Bay Beach Festival, and a former Secretary of the Titahi Bay Community Group. He is also a member of the Board of Te Ara Moana, as well as the Porirua City Community IT Education Trust. He is also a Councillor on the Porirua City Council.

Geoff's earliest memories of gardening come from his mother, who showed him how to grow vegetables, as well as mowing the lawns under the guidance of his father. His mentor is his grandfather Poppa John, who is well into his 90s, living in Whangamata and services an enormous garden and orchard.


Today Geoff has his own māra kai, and he uses the time in the garden as part of his toolbox to enhance his mental wellness:


"For me, gardening is the perfect metaphor for life. We can't control everything that happens in the world and sometimes things just don't work out the way you hoped, but you just keep trying, because in time you can grow some beautiful things, that feed our bodies and our souls. He kai kei aku ringa!"

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