Eastwoodhill Arboretum, the National Arboretum of New Zealand

Gisborne, NZ

Eastwoodhill Arboretum has been recognized as the National Arboretum of New Zealand. Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects (NBW) developed a master plan to guide the 333 acre arboretum into the next 100 years. NBW worked in close collaboration with the community of Eastwoodhill to develop strategies of organization and phasing to raise the international profile of the arboretum and ensure it’s botanical relevancy.

The arboretum comprises the largest collection of Northern Hemisphere tree species south of the equator.  What began as the project of a curious collector soon became an important resource as the threats of ecological change, disease, and nuclear annihilation surfaced in the 20th Century. Today this collection is invaluable. Eastwoodhill is rare among the world’s botanic and arboreal institutions for its ability to host plants from the Northern Hemisphere in relative isolation. This unique quality, combined with New Zealand’s stringent bio-security regulations, makes the arboretum an ideal environment for the cultivation of threatened species and for the study of tree disease, deforestation, and species extinction. 

Despite the significance of the collection, the organization and facilities of Eastwoodhill were not well arranged to facilitate contemporary public use. The master plan suggests several steps to fundamentally reorganize the arboretum toward improving the visitor experience and connection to the structure of the physical grounds as reflected through the philosophy of the institution. 

With the advantage of the 100 year master plan vision in place, small improvements can be carefully planned to build towards a cohesive future. This will guide arboretum staff to prioritize expenditures and achieve the greatest efficiency with available funds. By providing not only a programming vision but also the accompanying infrastructure and maintenance protocols required for support, the master plan offers a clear way forward into the future towards what Eastwoodhill Arboretum can become.