Totem art to represent BOP at garden festival

Lara Bui and Isaac Weston at what will be the site of their BOP Garden & Art Festival concept garden. Supplied photo.

The turf has been turned on the first of the Bay of Plenty Garden & Art Festival's concept gardens.

Isaac Weston and Lara Bui are at the festival hub site at Tauranga Racecourse this week to check their plot, which they will transform in the lead up to the festival.

The concept gardens will be the handiwork of Lara (Cool Plants) and Isaac (Re.Work.It.) as well as landscape architect Nichola Vague.

The racecourse will also be this year's festival hub and venue for Bloom in the Bay festival action.

Lara and Isaac say their plot will incorporate a feature tree, low lying plants and Isaac's totem art. His totem creations will be specific to the BOP, reflecting the Kaimai Ranges, Wairoa River and the stingrays of Tauranga harbour.

BOP Garden and Art Festival director Marc Anderson says it's a pleasure to create new gardens around town, and adding the racecourse to the mix will be wonderful.

The concept gardens created at the 2018 festival hub remain at the Historic Village to please the public.

Marc says strong interest has already been shown in the 2020 festival, which will be held from November 19-22.

Ticket sales at this early stage are greater than at the same time in 2018 when the festival was last held.

The festival is appealing to plenty from outside the region, if June's Super Early Bird ticket sales are anything to go by. Ticket purchasers have come from throughout the Waikato, Hawke's Bay, Gisborne, Auckland, Wellington, Manawatu, Northland and Christchurch, as well as strong interest from the Bay of Plenty.

'We are pleased with the New Zealand-wide interest at this time, and it is really positive for all of us that people are finding exciting things to do and attend within New Zealand considering what we have all endured over the last few months,” Marc says.

While the Super Early Bird ticket sales have finished, opportunities to get discounted Early Bird ticket vouchers are still available during July at the cost of $30 (plus fees) for a one day ticket; and $55 (plus fees) for a multi-day festival pass valid for all four days.

General ticket vouchers (at no reduced price) will be sold from August 1.

Ticket vouchers can be bought now at Palmers Bethlehem (the festival's garden and art trail sponsor) or by visiting, or

At this time, all ticket voucher purchases will be redeemable for a festival pack comprising a festival pass, festival directory and garden and art trail map. Festival packs will be distributed closer to the festival date.

General Festival Pack sales will also be available at other outlets, including those in outlying areas such as Katikati and Te Puke from September 1.

The festival will include more than 70 garden and art stops. Bloom in the Bay adds to the festival's appeal, incorporating food, live music, art galleries, a floral art exhibition, speaker series, sculpture, environmental displays, and the concept gardens.

Bloom in the Bay is free to enter for those who hold a festival pass and will be open to the general public with $5 ticket sales at the gate during the festival days. Entry is free for children aged 14 and under and for festival pass holders.

Bayleys will again be the overall festival partner. Marc also thanks TECT and Tauranga City Council for their continued support.


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