David Sole
 2003 -
  Current manager
David's background on his appointment

Another circle becomes complete with the appointment of David Sole to the position of Botanic Gardens Manager. When David trained as a gardener in the late 1970s current staff members Neil Christensen, Geoff Paris and Peter Tijsen were contemporaries.

David’s career began with street tree planting and maintenance, and, of course, general horticulture. During his time with the City Council he gained a National Diploma in Horticulture (Hon). In 1986 he left to run his own, very successful, business, Sole Gardening and Landscaping Ltd, working across the board, from extensive landscape rehabilitations to tiny domestic jobs. Many of the high-rise city buildings constructed in the 80's and 90's had their grounds landscaped and planted by David and his team. He also ran a team of tree surgeons for about seven years, an “early ‘proper’ tree surgery company,” he says.

A member of the RNZIH throughout, David has always kept in touch with the Gardens - WCC horticulture trainees who have wanted to do landscaping papers have achieved their unit standards by spending time working with Sole Gardening and Landscaping. As if running his own business wasn’t enough, David also spent several years on the executive of the Landscape Industries Association of NZ, and sat on the Horticultural Training Industry board for seven years, helping to establish new qualifications and unit standards for the industry.

In 1997 David decided to concentrate on his business and relinquished these roles. So why give up this successful business now?

“It’s time for me to have a change,” says David. “I want to broaden my experience and this particular job is almost unique.” He says there’s no other job quite like it because of the huge range of environments and challenges it contains, from the rose garden to the Bolton Street cemetery to Otari to Truby King House. Without having been in the job yet, he’s not sure how much direct impact he will have, feeling that he needs to understand the culture first. He is eager to get his teeth into the strategic and management plans. “I also want to bring the skills I’ve developed being in business and working in the private sector back into that (public) environment,” he says.

David is a long-term Wellingtonian who is enthusiastic about his city. He has maintained a close watching-brief on waterfront  developments and says he is very conscious about public environs; in terms of both aesthetics and practical usability.

David is married with three teenage children and, in what little spare time he has, enjoys 4-wheel-drive touring.

“I’m excited and really looking forward to this new challenge,” he says. “I think I can really bring something to it.”


David's milestones in the garden will be reviewed later.

Children's Playground 2005

Mention is made in this series of the chilldren's playground, and the various developments that have taken place over many years.  The removal of the iconic pines in the playground in August 2005  for safety reasons because of their age was regretted by many.  The carving of one  of the remaining  stumps by a chainsaw artist in 2009 producing the 'Old Man Wellington' feature is now a popular addition to the art works in the Garden, although often missed by visitors unless you have children visiting the playground.

The photographs also indicate the resources required to remove many of the old and large trees in the garden for safety and aesthetic reasons, a task that unfortunately is becoming more necessary and expensive, especially when protecting the surrounding vegetation from damage during extraction of the plant material.











The directors, keepers, managers, curators of the garden in order of appointment
Their titles have changed over the years