Northland mayor John Carter yesterday unveiled a plaque in Kerikeri’s Roland’s Wood in memory of Roland Sansom, the man who created the forest of English deciduous trees. The spot off Inlet Road, with its streams, ponds, network of walk-ways and springtime carpet of daffodils and bluebells, has proved popular among the town’s walkers and dog-owners.
When Sansom died in 2001 he gifted the woodland, at that stage still an early work in progress, to the people and dogs of Kerikeri. Maintenance lapsed so restoration became one of the community projects adopted by the Rotary Club of Kerikeri under the leadership and almost daily involvement of Rotarians John Horrell and John Graham, with the support of community volunteers.
Last month the pair were named 2013 Gardeners of the Year in a nationwide competition run by NZ Gardener magazine. The award was in recognition of the work they have done to maintain and develop the woodland.
At the plaque-unveiling ceremony Horrell received a Far North District Council 2012 Citizen’s Award from the mayor for his effort.
Voluntary personal contribution was the reason the Kerikeri community is as strong as it is, Mr Carter said.
“If the world was full of John Horrells, my goodness, what a wonderful place it would be.”