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Hit the Trail

Heidi Griffin, Virginia Winder, and Anne Dawson interview artists (Taranaki Arts Trail), gardeners (Taranaki Garden Festival), and community members (Taranaki Sustainable Backyards Trail), about their projects.

Airing time: Monday at 9am, replayed at 9pm

Hit the Trail is a seasonal community radio show dedicated to showcasing the annual Taranaki Arts Trail, Centuria Taranaki Garden Festival, and Taranaki Sustainable Backyards Trail which, in 2023, takes place from Friday 27 October to Sunday 5 November.

In the lead-up to these events, Heidi Griffin, Virginia Winder, and Anne Dawson interview artists, gardeners, and community members of all ages about their passion, their inspiration and the hard work that goes into making it a joyful and interesting experience for visitors. Listen to artists and gardeners talk about their art and the practical and inventive solutions they’ve found to common and vexing problems.


Check out their websites and event programmes at:



To download the latest episode: Click the kiwifruit to go to the Hit the Trail show page on the site:   download this show here

Click on the title of an episode to listen

Three Elms Garden & Maria Brockhill

It’s all uphill for Lisa and Shane McNab as they head into their fourth year opening Three Elms for the Centuria Taranaki Garden Festival. Publicist Virginia Winder hears how they transformed their steep section on Anne St in New Plymouth using artful plantings – both tropical and traditional – plus loads of big rocks. Based at 19 Anne St, New Plymouth (Centuria Taranaki Garden Festival #27)

Driving through Bell Block there is a hive of activity behind the main run of shops in Maria’s studio at 15B Bell Block Court. With a large open studio space and three kilns constantly on the go, Maria hones her impressive skills with clay specialising in decorative artworks, large and small, for your home and garden with her endless range of glazes and finishes. Maria has been in Taranaki Arts Trail every year since the beginning and plans to fill her shop space with ceramic flowers in celebration of this great milestone. Based 15B Bell Block Court, bell Block (Taranaki Arts Trail #10)

Duration: 00:58:48 | Date: 23 October, 2023

Little Insect Farm & Hirst Cottage

Melissa and Aaro have sustainability at the forefront of their decisions. A thriving food forest and veggie beds have been established on steep terrain. Upcycling is evident with a strong focus on encouraging wildlife. With a greywater and composting toilet system, a root cellar, a rocket stove project, electric vehicles, tyre retaining walls, and incent farming, this is an inspiring property to visit on the way to Rotokare Scenic Reserve. Based 161 Sangster Road, Rawhitiroa (Sustainable Backyards Trail #20)

Using a palette of black, white and green, Judi Gopperth has created a garden that honours the history of Hirst Cottage in New Plymouth. The long-time entrant in the Centuria Taranaki Garden Festival talks to Virginia Winder about the 1865-built home, getting ready to open the delight in meeting visitors. Based at 94 Pendarvers St, New Plymouth (Centuria Taranaki Gardens Festival #26)

Duration: 00:59:50 | Date: 16 October, 2023

Dale Copeland & Nine Streams Farm

Dale's three-room studio within her home is full of artworks and years of collecting, surrounded by her unkempt jungle garden and rolling Taranaki countryside on Surf Highway, Puniho, Okato. Dale is known worldwide as an accomplished assemblage artist and champion of local art, being a founding member of Taranaki Arts Trail. Her disparate objects and the philosophy of the found merge together for some thought-provoking creations. Based 7266 Surf Highway, Puniho, Okato. (Taranaki Arts Trails #104)

Mat and Vanessa have farmed their 97ha regenerative beef farm for 6 years. Their challenge is operating in a high rainfall climate and maintaining fencing for livestock on land dissected by waterways fed by the bordering maunga. 1/3 of the property is retired to QE11 covenants with whio, tomtit and falcon who visit regularly. Based 851 Durham Road Upper, Norfolk. (Taranaki Sustainable Backyards Trail #10)

Duration: 00:56:24 | Date: 9 October, 2023

Goodin Country Garden & Ian Lewis and Theresa Tongi

When Chris and Steak Goodin open their property for the Centuria Taranaki Garden Festival there are always extras involving art, animals, and often music. Publicit Virginia Winder talks to the couple about the explosive beginnings of the Goodin Country Garden and hears about a couple of fine photographers and an event called Meet Horses Helping Humans. Based 158 Mirikau Road, Warea. (Centuria Taranaki Garden Festival #15)

Ian and Theresa are part of the St Chad’s Collective on Ōmata Road in New Plymouth. A group of eight contrasting artists who do not have visitor-friendly home-studios so have banded together to showcase themselves under one roof. Theresa explores different mediums with her main focus and inspiration being her faith and her family with the Samoan and Tongan culture shining through her artworks. Ian has a more surreal and psychological approach to his artwork through paintings, drawings and mixed media. The majority of the artists at St Chad’s Hall, Ōmata Road are participating in the Taranaki Arts Trail for the first time. (Taranaki Arts Trail #54 & #52)

Duration: 00:58:20 | Date: 2 October, 2023

New Start Gardens and Omata School & Jungle Nurseries

Newstart Gardens grows organic-based produce that is delivered to people in need by the New Plymouth Foodbank. It is a community run by volunteers, a facility for education, and a primary location for Land Based Training. It is a great site for practical learning, and so is a ‘continual work-in-progress’. The gardens are owned by the SDA Church. Based 41 Saxton Road. (Taranaki Sustainable Backyards Trail #4)

Students and parent volunteers have transformed a previously barren area into a dynamic food forest consisting of 22 large fruiting trees, veggie beds, supported plants, chickens, and much more. The orchard project was implemented by the children, staff, and community in 2017 and more recently tamariki have learnt about and used cultural tikanga (protocol) for seed collection and cultivation. Based 1 Holloway Road, Ōmata (Taranaki Sustainable backyards Trail #11)

For the first time, Michael Mansvelt, designer of houses, landscapes and interiors, is inviting people to enter the Jungle during the Centuria Taranaki Garden Festival. Publicist Virginia Winder talks to him about his New Plymouth nursery, where the jewel of the Jungle is a huge glasshouse packed with tropical gems, including rare plants. Based at 816 Carrington Road, New Plymouth (Centuria Taranaki Garden Festival #31)

Duration: 00:59:24 | Date: 25 September, 2023

Susie Harrop and Michelle Rowland & Viv's Garden

Susie and Michelle are close friends who support and often work together in each other’s studios. Both are self-taught to an exceptional level capturing everyday moments, local landscapes and portraiture. Susie and Michelle will be based at Hollard Gardens, Upper Manaia Road, Kaponga, throughout the trail with activities, refreshments and the added attraction of the informal gardens surrounding them. (Taranaki Arts Trail #97 & #98)

Viv and Rob weave creativity and sustainability into their 1-acre urban farmlet. Explore organic, no-dig and lasagne garden beds, as well as orchards, a food forest and natives. Learn about companion planting, ducks and chickens, DIY fertilisers, windbreaks, rainwater harvesting and irrigation, solar power and storage, predator control, compostable toilets, and soil recovery. Harvest provides food but also dye and fibres from cordage, paper making and basketry. Based 18 Halse Place, Ōpunake(Taranaki Sustainable Backyards Trail #16)

Duration: 00:57:30 | Date: 18 September, 2023

Tropics on Mangati & Phil Taylor

Amelia de Ridder is a newcomer to the Centuria Taranaki Garden Festival with Tropics on Manngati. Festival publicist Virginia Winder talks to her about creating a garden packed with palms, bromeliads and tropical beauties. She also has a food forest, fishpond and memories in her freshly created Bell Block Garden, which was a gift to herself. Based 108 Mangati Road, Bell Block (Centuria Taranaki Garden Festival #38)

Phil is new to Taranaki Arts Trail and is highly skilled in handcrafting one-of-a-kind pieces from multiple woods into fluid and organic sculptures at his Inglewood-based studio. Phil's unique precision of work and skill quality represent the stunning possibilities wood can offer when in the right hands. Visit Phil and his breathtaking sculptures at 32 Miro Street, Inglewood. (Taranaki Arts Trail #81)

Duration: 00:58:33 | Date: 11 September, 2023

Māra Kai & Ngā Manu Garden

Kate and Finn started their ever-evolving labour of love three years ago. The property combines aspects of food production and sustainability while maintaining visual aesthetics. The property hopes to show other young families what can be achieved on an urban section while balancing work, family, and property maintenance. Māra Kai is like a mullet - business in the front and party at the back. Based 6 Mouatt Street, Waitara (Taranaki Sustainable Back Yards Trail #25)

Chris and Angela Feron are entering Ngā Manu Garden into the Centuria Taranaki Garden Festival for the second time. Publicist Virginia Winder hears about their enticing laen, bird-luring feeders and bee-attracting plants. The landscaped New Plymouth bird garden also stars shapely camellias, a giant ginkgo and an avalanche of roses. Based 40 Manu Crescent (Centuria Taranaki Garden Festival #29)

Duration: 00:56:19 | Date: 4 September, 2023

Wayne Morris and Sarah Tullet & Blue Petal Botanicals

Wayne and Sarah are based at 693 Carrington Road, Hurwoth. An idyllic spot with a studio each within shouting distance from each other, but each creating very different artwork within their own spaces. Wayne's work is big, boisterous assemblage from found, recycled and upcycled treasures fashioned into birds, fish, garden art and quirky sculptures. Sarah sculpts jewellery inspired by nature and ancient artifacts, highlighting texture and embracing imperfections when casting silver in Aotearoa beach sand. (Taranaki Arts Trail #68 & #69)

Martina and Donald's kitchen garden is based on organic principles and sits centre of their 2-hectare property. Explore raised garden beds surrounded by a Douglas Fir field as a wood for posterity, a eucalyptus patch for firewood, and a terraced espalier and herb field - part of Blue Petal herbal and honey production. Learn about mulch uses, composting, worm farming, comfrey liquid fertilising, recycling, and much more. Based 335 Maude road, Korito (Taranaki Sustainable Backyards Trail #8)

Duration: 00:58:38 | Date: 28 August, 2023