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Unfortunately, Oratia Native Plant Nursery has now closed down. For further information, click here.

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Several times a year we send out Oratia Updates. These give information about forthcoming events and plant-related topics. If you would like to receive then we need your current email address. Simply fill in the login details accessed above right, or email us if you have already registered but have a new email address.
Winter 2009

More trees to be cleared

Our Easter sale was a great success as people responded to the opportunity to buy up large for the long weekend and the planting season.

We still have more stock of certain lines than we can comfortably accommodate at Oratia. We will continue to place the older stock in the specially marked beds and sell it at the reduced "clearance" prices.

If you need large numbers of these revegetation grade species, we may be able to negotiate even better prices. Please come and talk to us.

Core business

In these times of financial uncertainty we're all being told to stick to our knitting and focus on our core business. For Oratia, this means continuing to provide NZ's widest range of native plants, and great customer service.

So we were pleased to see so many comments in our recent customer survey repeatedly commending our "friendly, helpful and knowledgeable staff".

Even the newest of our staff members has been with us more than three years, and many have been with us for more than a decade. We feel incredibly lucky to have such a loyal group of diverse people who share a common interest and work together as a great team.

Sadly, last Friday we farewelled "Young Jeff" McCauley. Jeff was with us for more than nine years and in that time developed his passion for native plants in general, and rare and endangered species in particular. Jeff is moving on to explore how he can put his considerable skills to use in promoting native plants.

In many ways Jeff has outgrown us, and we feel a little like birds who have nudged their fledgling out of the nest. But we hope that the change will ultimately benefit everyone, as we continue to work with Jeff both in the provision of plants and on special projects.

A Mingimingi by any other name

We were recently asked why we refer to plants by their botanical names and not the common and/or Maori names that everyone knows. It's a good question, so here's the answer.

Simply, we use botanical names for clarity and precision. There are at least nine different plant species known as mingimingi - the nursery has seven of them. Botanical names allow us to distinguish between these.

Maori names also vary from iwi to iwi. What is manuka to northern Maori may well be kahikatoa or pata, rauwiri or rauiri to others. One iwi might call a rush wii, another will say wii-wii, and another will call it koopuupuungaawhaa.

The beauty of botanical names is that they are as precise as our current knowledge allows. If they change, it's a reflection of our increasing knowledge and understanding of the plants.

We have a huge respect for our native plants and endeavour to give them their correct names - Maori, common and botanical. Our website can be searched using any of these, even phonetically! By default, our invoices only show botanical names, but you're welcome to ask for a version with cultural notes which shows the other names, and useful growing information.

The botanical naming system was developed by Carl Linnaeus in 1753. For more information, see our website -


We look forward to helping you with your planting projects, both big and small.

The Oratia Native Plant Nursery team