Auckland Horticultural Council

Welcome to the Auckland Horticultural Council

The Auckland Horticultural Council Incorporated (AHC), is a co-ordinating body for Affiliated Clubs interested in all things horticultural or Auckland community based groups. We provide a community building at 990 Great North Road, Western Springs with space to rent for meetings, demonstrations and community events.

Notice Special General Meeting Sat 19th Aug


Our Clubs and Affiliates

Have a look at our AHC Affiliated Clubs for contacts and more information

Interested in our facilities or becoming an affiliate?

If you are interested in using our facilities, becoming an affiliate, notifying us of an event or updating your information please email these details to Inquiries at 

History of the AHC

Report on history of Auckland Horticultural Society (AHC) 

and the premises at 990 Great North Rd.

The AHC was incorporated as an Incorporated society in 1956 having operated as unincorporated body since the 19th century.

It purchased 57 Symonds St in 1960 for $39,000. It had no debt in 1965.

There were planning problems and the property was sold and 21 Wynyard Rd was purchased in 1982.

The Balance Sheet for 21 March 1983 showed Accumulated Funds of $176,407 represented by L&B $88,557 and mostly TDs of $87,200.

In early 1984 the then Chairman Assid Corban approached the Auckland City Council (ACC) to acquire rights to use the former Chamberlain Park Golf Clubrooms.

These had been vacant for some years and were very run down.

In August 1986 the Chairman wrote to the ACC reconfirming their wish to take over the building and proposing some sort of joint venture to develop the wider area.

The ACC/AHC agreed in principal.

The AHC was invited to put forward a formal submission for upgrading the building and also to enter into a joint venture to provide a community facility for the benefit of the people of Auckland.  

Accounts at 31 March 1988 show net funds on TD in the order of $252,585.

10 June 1988 Chrystall Architects presented an estimate for Malty & Partners for the development in 3 stages:

1          clubhouse renovation         $81,500

2          Exhibition hall                     $665,000

3          Restaurant                          $555,000

Total                                                $1,291,500

Sometime after discussions were held on 3 August 1988 the AHC wrote to the Executive Manager ACC Parks & Reserves. This letter contained a number of submissions:

(1)  It was felt it was not a good idea to have a caretaker live in the clubrooms. It is not clear why it was felt a caretaker was needed but believe it was a requirement of the ACC.  This probably followed on from the fact that the AHC had been offered a cottage owned by the Henderson Borough Council of which Mr Corban was Mayor. The total costs were unknown at this stage but in any event were to be met by the AHC.

(2)    The AHC was to authorise working drawings of the conversion of the   clubrooms.

(3)    Funding of Stage 1. AHC cash reserves were $280,000. Cost to complete was estimated at $80,000. Of this $60,000 was to come from cash reserves, the other $20,000 was to come from other sources-donations/grants.This $20,000 did not materialise which led to an immediate shortfall on the wider commitment.

(4)   Stages 11 & 111. No timetable.. Decision depended on future available resources.

(5)   Funding of Stage 11 & 111 & completion..                                                                                                                         (a)          AHC would use ALL its cash of $280,000 for the total project.

  (b)          AHC agreed the complex would belong to the ACC in perpetuity.  

The (cash) resources would be gifted to the Citizens of Auckland to be used by the community

(c)         A JV funding proposal as follows:

AHC                                                   $200,000

ACC Community Dev fund                $200,000

LACFF                                               $300,000

Sponsorships over 2 years                $400,000

Fund raising/donations                      $150,000

Total                                                 $1,250,000

AHC minutes 26 October 1988 notes cash reserves $277,837.  

The delegates were advised the ACC had accepted the proposal in principal but that $150,000 was needed to be raised by the AHC.   

AHC minutes 16 November 1988 notes cash reserves of $278,733.           

The delegates were told immediate approval would be granted to start work on the building with stages 11 and 11 being jointly supervised by ACC and the Architect. (It is not clear that funding is in place for all stages).                         

A tender for the transport and relocation of the cottage of $12,500 was approved subject to Council approval. (Total costs relating to the cottage were not quantified until after the event).

A letter from the ACC dated 24 November 1988 advised it had resolved:

1   The AHC could commence renovations of Clubrooms to the value of $80,000

2   There is to be no cost to the ACC

3   The ACC is to send an assurance and letter of intent to guarantee AHC an appropriate lease of the Clubrooms.

The ACC said this assurance would not extend to the whole area of the site “at this stage” because there needed to be further agreement on the funding “as previously agreed.”

The cottage should not go ahead because there were further matters relating to the site and no permit had been granted.

A comment was made...”service connections to the house could be expensive.”

AHC Minutes dated 21 December 1988 stated:                                                     

Cash reserves held $283,003.                                                                      

The delegates were advised Stage 1 could go ahead. There is no mention of the cottage.

Ceramco had been approached and tentatively agreed to supply a commemorative paved area at a total cost of $5 million.

Balance sheet 31 March 1989 shows there were net cash reserves at $288,662 so nothing had been paid out yet.

There is a formal proposal dated 1 February 1989 to the Parks & Recreation Committee from the Executive Manager. It is grand in its vision. It outlines a plan for the entire site: building a restaurant, exhibition hall, parking, ornamental gardens and so forth.                                                           

Cost was anticipated to be $2,684,000. Of relevance is $280,000 from the AHC. Also of relevant is the comment............the ornamental gardens will be developed and maintained jointly with the AHC and open to the public during daylight hours.

On 23 October 1989 the AHC Chairman applied for funds from the ASB Trust. He outlined the total project at a budgeted cost of $2,444,200 (cost of renovating the clubrooms was shown at $80,000).                                       

The cottage costs were not included in this.                                                     

He mentioned the roof had to be replaced and drainage and plumbing. Consequently all the available cash reserves would have to be used and there would be a shortfall of $100,000.

This application was subsequently turned down by the ASB Trust.      

Subsequently and after further applications the ASB Trust must have approved a grant of $13,000 during the 1992 year because it is shown as partially offsetting a repairs & maintenance item of $25,175 in the P&L.     

The Balance sheet at 31 March 1990 a big change:

Cash reserves have now reduced to $61,259.                                              

The money has gone to pay for the clubhouse and the cottage.                  

Both are in the balance sheet as Fixed Assets (cottage $36,600 and Clubrooms $297,472).                                                 There is also an entry under Term Liabilities-ACC $100,000 (no note as to what this is for). This is the first time this TL entry appears in the accounts.

Mr Corban wrote a report dated 2 May 1990 which was used to pass a further resolution.

The AHC had funds of $293,920. These were spent as follows:

Exhib hall/clubrooms/cottage/roof            $168,920  estimate $95,000 shortfall $73,920.      

Grant to ACC                                  $100,000                                                      

Further grant to ACC                       $25,000

Total                                                   $293,920

The AHC resolved to write to the ACC confirming its intention to pay up to $200,000 as funds became available.

The Balance sheet at 31 March 1991 showed cash reserves had now reduced to  $12,666.                                                   Part of the money had gone to the ACC which has reduced the Term Liability to $75,000.The bulk of the rest on the cash had gone on repairs and maintenance. At this stage income was reducing because there is almost no TD interest being earned.

 The Balance sheet at 31 March 1992 showed the term liability had reduced to $45,000. This has a confusing note to the effect that a grant of $25,000 was transferred from the loan account to Grants Received in the P&L. In actual fact the AHC made a $5,000 payment on account to the ACC.                 

Rates issues.

The AHC paid rates. There were various applications by the AHC to get these remitted. The ACC refused to consider this because of the unresolved ‘loan’ issue. Applications kept being sent through into at least 2000. It is not clear when the AHC was finally exempted from paying rates. Nor is it clear why the AHC was obligated to pay rates in the first place and on what property.

The loan

This Term Liability entry first appeared in the report dated 24 November 1988. This was not correct. There was never a loan and no documents were signed evidencing a loan to the AHC by the Council.

It is likely to have arisen because the AHC promised to make available its net resources and this figure varied but was in the order of $225,000. In terms of the table above $125,000 was paid to the ACC so the $100,000 was considered by the ACC as still being due and payable.                                     

The matter was compounded by the AHC confirming its commitment to pay this money and it sought a repayment schedule over time.                             

But there was never a loan by the ACC to the AHC.

This became clouded over time.                                                                    

Had the AHC had a robust ongoing revenue stream over time it could well have met its commitment but it did not.

There became a protracted argument between the AHC and the ACC about this ‘loan’. The Council on a number of occasions wrote letters of demand to the AHC for instalment payments.

There is a letter dated 8 April 1997 from a new person at the ACC. She says the AHC historically acknowledged the debt and requested a payment arrangement over time. The letter refers to a previous letter from the AHC asking what it “gets for the $155,000 contribution made.”

She quotes a letter dated 2 February 1994 from the AHC saying “AHC agreed to contribute $300,000 (our total investment saving) on the following basis:      

$100,000-Clubhouse renovation                                                                

$200,000-Contribution towards reception lounge and exhibition hall.                   

And she also says  “it seems apparent the AHC was aware of what it was getting in return for its promised contribution to the lounge and exhibition hall.”

Almost in desperation the Chairman of the AHC writes informally to the person who had been the original Parks & Reserves Manager. His reply is robust and states:

1     the amount from the AHC was a voluntary contribution to the development of the overall complex. It was never a loan. 

2     The contribution was clearly to be in return for reasonable access to the complex in particular to the exhibition hall. Otherwise what would be the point of the AHC’s contribution.

Armed with this and in particular the fact that easy and regular access by the AHC to the exhibition hall as promised did not and had never existed, the AHC made submission to the ACC for the write off of the balance of the $45,000.

The application is found in the ACC’s Report dated 22 May 1998. The "debt'' was written off for the following reasons:

1             The costs of repairing the clubrooms which the ACC benefited from were higher than expected.

2             The AHC had not been able to get the benefit of the exhibition hall because the ACC leased out the adjacent restaurant and access was made difficult.

3             The financial circumstances of the AHC were poor with the 31 March 1998 accounts showing a deficit of $4,888 which was in line with previous years.

Issues and comments

1          The AHC was so keen to obtain a permanent home it went into the JV with the ACC with incomplete costings and budgets. The AHC committed all its available funds. In fact the cost to complete the clubhouse was anticipated to be $80,000. The AHC agreed to give the ACC $20,000 of this anticipating it would be able to make up the $20,000 from grants/donations.

2          The cottage was a poor investment. The total cost was $36,000 which the AHC did not have.  it was however a requirement of the ACC that a caretaker be on site and the building itself was not suitable for permanent accommodation.

3          The AHC relied on a bare Architect’s cost to complete. It does not appear as if there was any real understanding at the preliminary stage between the parties of what constituted ‘renovation’. The costs blew out.    The AHC should not have paid for instance for the new roof. 

4          The question remains what did the AHC get for giving its entire cash resources to the ACC?

Post Script The Gardens

The parties agreed that the space between the old building and the new building would be laid out in a decorative garden. Comparisons were made with the Eden Garden complex.

The ACC agreed to plant and maintain the gardens. This was done in accordance with a design agreed between the ACC and AHC.

The ACC in terms of its commitment paid for a gardener ($12,000 pa). They also paid for water.

The gardens were a popular drawcard for visitors from all over Auckland and widely used for weddings photos.

In or around 2007 the ACC advised the AHC they would no longer provide a gardener or water.

The Bulb & Perennial Soc Inc one of the groups under the AHC umbrella wanted to keep the benefit of the gardens for all so said it would rally its members to volunteer to work in the gardens.

The ACC said they would only agree to this if the B&P paid them for the privilege of doing the gardens and would also be required to pay for any water used. This was a  gravely unfair condition and not acceptable to the B&P.

The ACC bulldozed the gardens.

August 2017






May 2017 Newsletter