1906 International Exhibition


  • Situated at the rear of the Main Hall the Fernery simulated a forest setting in an indoor environment.
  • Most of the New Zealand native fern varieties were found there as well as other native plants.

A fairy dell

The Fernery was proposed by the Exhibition Horticultural and Gardening Committee and the design and layout was the work of A. Pearson of Rotorua, assisted by G.B. Armstrong of Christchurch. The cost was £1089. The Fernery lay at the western end of the Main Corridor. It was a circular room, 100 feet (30 metres) in diameter, with a green-tinted glass roof. There was a pond in which trout swam and a fountain played, a bush-bridge made of punga tree trunks, and small waterfalls tumbling over rocks. A grotto near the pond contained imitation stalactites. The moss-covered walls sprouted tiny, curling ferns and tree bark covered pillars and posts. It was described as "a fairy dell in Fern Land".1

Plant species

Of the approximately 140 species of native ferns found in New Zealand, about 80 species were represented. There were 5 species of tree ferns, including one or 2 nikau palms, right down to tiny mosses, maidenhairs and rock ferns. Several rare species were to be found, but surprisingly, not the common bracken or scented ferns. A few other native plants were also shown, including several species of cabbage tree, flaxes, astelia, rock-orchids, rock-lilies and lancewood.


Related photos

The Fernery
The Fernery
The Fernery
The Fernery



  1. [1] Cowan, J. Official record, page 165