Ohinetahi Garden, Lyttelton

#2 of 7 in Things to do in Lyttelton
Ōhinetahi is a valley, historic homestead, and formal garden on Teddington Road, Governors Bay, Christchurch, Canterbury Region, New Zealand. Ōhinetahi valley is situated at the head of Lyttelton Harbour while the Port Hills rise above Ōhinetahi. While the Ōhinetahi Homestead is considered to be a significant historic building in the small settlement of Governors Bay, the formal garden of Ōhinetahi is considered to be one of New Zealand's finest. Amongst the early owners of Ōhinetahi were William Sefton Moorhouse, Canterbury pioneer, and Thomas Potts, New Zealand's first conservationist; Sir Miles Warren, architect of the Christchurch Town Hall, was the last private owner, and gave it to New Zealand.
The place was once a heavily fortified Ngāti Māmoe pā. Approximately 300 years ago, it was overtaken by Te Rakiwhakaputa of Ngāi Tahu. After the pā's capture, Manuhiri, son of Te Rakiwhakaputa, resided here, fathering many sons and one daughter after whom the pā is named.
The first known house was named Rosemary Cottage after one of Bishop Selwyn's daughters and was built by Christopher Alderson Calvert, a lawyer. Four subsequent owners followed before Moorhouse owned the 225 acre property, adding timber wings to the existing house. Moorhouse sold it to Thomas Potts in 1858 who built the stone house between 1863 and 1867. The garden framework, originally laid out in 1865 by Potts, New Zealand's first botanist, was established with trees such as Burbank plums. The variety of exotic trees and shrubs that Potts selected were on the advice of Kew Garden authorities. Potts 4 ha garden included a quince and variegated elm that still survive. After his death in 1888, the garden was left untended until it was mostly just a lawn around the house.
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Ohinetahi Garden Reviews
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26 reviews
  • Whilst driving down from Kaikoura and heading to Akaroa we decide to take a detour to Governor’s Bay to see this garden and it was certainly worth it. A lovely drive with plenty of views. We saw the s...  more »
  • So glad we managed to get in before place closes down for winter! Lovely grounds, beautiful sculptures. We enjoyed the bush walk and bird song. Wish it was a warmer day but you cannot have everything:...  more »
  • Very beautiful gardens. Owners were very helpful showing us around a bit. A few more shady seats would have been good as it gets very hot there on very sunny days.
  • Lovely established garden. Art & architecture a bit modern for my liking but we were there for the garden! :) Would be nice if there was an option to take tea and scones or some such... ;)
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