Tour funds dementia unit

Totara House at Matakohe is one of 20 properties on the tour.

An art-deco home, a relocated farm homestead and a sub-tropical garden that has featured in magazines are among 20 exceptional Northland properties opening their homes and gardens in a good cause over the weekend of February 22 and 23.

The Dahlias for Dementia Garden & House Tour is raising funds for a new 14-bed dementia unit being built at the community-owned Riverview rest home and retirement village in Maungaturoto.

Tour organiser Karen Smales says each participating property is quite different, but they all have one thing in common.

“They are tended by committed gardeners who get a great deal of pleasure from their efforts and are all delighted to be sharing the results of their labours for a good cause,” she says. “Many generous exhibitors have created magnificent gardens from a bare paddock, with maybe a couple of trees that have been there for generations.”

She adds that most of the homes that are opening their doors have been recently renovated and treated to “inspiring interior design makeovers”.

The self-guided tour extends from Maungaturoto to beyond Matakohe, and will include historic Totara House, The Kauri Museum’s 1896 kauri homestead that remains largely as it was since just after World War One.

Karen says there will be countless opportunities to enjoy expansive views throughout the tour, including across the Kaipara Harbour.

There are several cafes en route, lunches can be pre-ordered or people can bring picnics, and there will be music, artworks and crafts at various properties.

Tickets cost $50 and include a detailed tour map, information on each property and details of activities and refreshments available throughout. They can be bought online from, or from 100% Fergus Appliances & Beds, Maungaturoto; Waipu Hammer Hardware; Palmers Garden Centre, Whangarei; or Bayleys Real Estate Northland branches in Mangawhai Heads, Bream Bay, Dargaville, Whangarei or Kerikeri.

Info: Karen Smales on 09 431 6829, 027 240 5687 or email


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