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Woodlands Estate attracts attention on the awards circuit

One of Waikato District’s premier visitor destinations is a finalist in a number of national awards.

Woodlands Estate Historic Reserve has been nominated in the New Zealand Gardens Trust Awards 2021, as a Garden of National Significance.

And the Woodlands Estate Trust team have been named as finalists in the Wedding Industry (NZ) Awards in three categories: Ceremony Venue, Reception Venue and Wedding Planner.

The Woodlands Estate, managed by the Gordonton Woodlands Trust on behalf of Waikato District Council is the host of many weddings and corporate events.

The estate also attracts thousands of visitors each year where they enjoy the beautiful gardens, popular café and historic homestead on site.

In partnership with the Trust, Council is responsible for the major capital works across the historic reserve, including the upkeep and maintenance of the stunning gardens.

Waikato District Councillor Chris Woolerton has commended the Woodlands Estate team for their efforts in managing the café, homestead and running the busy events calendar.

“We are delighted to hear that Woodlands Estate has been nominated as a finalist in the ceremony and reception venue categories, as well as being a finalist in the wedding planner category for the New Zealand Wedding Industry Awards this year,” he said.

“The team do a fantastic job, and Council is proud of the ongoing work we are able to contribute to that supports the overall Woodlands experience.”

Woodlands Estate Historic Reserve has also been nominated in the New Zealand Gardens Trust Awards 2021, as a Garden of National Significance.

Waikato District Council Mayor Allan Sanson is proud of the positive working relationship between Council and the Gordonton Woodlands Trust, and the work being done to keep the historic reserve in supreme condition.

“We have three gardeners who work on site to maintain the grounds and keep them in pristine shape.

“We work directly alongside the Trust, and together Woodlands continues to be a venue of significance for the Waikato District and for visitors from near and far,” he said.

The New Zealand Gardens Trust Awards are due to take place in November this year, with the Wedding Industry Awards to be confirmed at a later date given the implications of Covid-19.

Council wishes the Trust and the team at Woodlands the best of luck in both awards.

For more details about the estate go to


Editor’s Footnotes

The historic reserve was part of a larger area of land confiscated from local hapū and mana whenua during the 1863 land wars between the Kīngitanga coalition of chiefs and the British-led government.

Only a small portion of the confiscated lands were returned to former Māori owners, with the remainder being developed into farmland as part of land grants to European settlers.

Today, Waikato District Council is proud to be the kaitiaki of the Woodlands Estate Historic Reserve following the gifting of the farm (homestead and land) from Irene Riddell to the Presbyterian Support Services in 1983, and subsequently to Council in 1989.