Responsible for the concept that has turned the Hamilton Gardens into an award-winning international attraction, Dr Peter Sergel is a true legend of Hamilton/Kirikiriroa.
Dr Sergel first stepped foot in Hamilton Gardens in 1978. At this time there wasn’t much to see, nor was there any budget allocated for development. It had previously been used as dog-dosing strip, sand quarry, go-cart track and rubbish dump.
Devoted to creating something special, Dr Sergel worked tirelessly with community groups to raise the funds. This dedication to fundraising continued to set up trusts for ongoing fundraising and promotion, including the creation of the Friends of the Hamilton Gardens group over 25 years ago.
Dr Sergel was responsible for the park’s first concept plan and went on to develop more than 20 gardens. He is the mastermind behind the Gardens’ unique concept of telling the story of gardens throughout civilisation.
Dr Sergel was appointed Director of the Hamilton Gardens in 1995. His energy and drive have seen the 58ha site become a major visitor destination loved by residents and tourists, which also contributes to the social, cultural and economic life of our city.
His vision has received international recognition, including the 2014 International Garden of the Year Award. Dr Sergel also received an honorary doctorate in 2009 from the University of Waikato in relation to his work with Hamilton Gardens.
Dr Sergel has driven other local projects such as the 1980s Riverbank Development Scheme and the redevelopment of Woodlands. He’s instigated several events, the best-known being the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival, which he established in 1998. He ran the festival for its first few years, before creating the organisation that took over the responsibility for doing this.
Dr Sergel’s passion, creativity and ability to inspire others with his vision have made the Gardens the magnificent city and regional asset it is today. If you have been to Hamilton Gardens, you will know exactly what we mean.
Dr Peter Sergel is truly deserving of this award, and we can’t thank him enough for the work he has done in shaping our city and putting Hamilton/Kirikiriroa on the map as a world class destination.