New Life for Ponsonby Icon

Ponsonby Road icon, The Garden Party, is on the move, opening an exciting new chapter in its 25-year history.

“It’s so close we aren’t using moving trucks, we are just carrying everything over,” says owner Anna Lim.

The new shop, just a few doors along from Icebreaker, will sell Garden Party favourites, with a few new twists.

“We’ve always specialised in unique and interesting gifts made in New Zealand and that’s not changing. But because we are small and owner-operated, we have the ability to evolve and try new things. Customers to our new store will be treated to an eclectic lineup of Garden Party staples along with an ever-changing range of new and unusual gifts, and of course we always stock a few gems that make people laugh.”

One of the oldest retail shops on the strip, The Garden Party first opened its doors in 1994 at 71 Ponsonby Road, after renovating an old insurance office.

“There wasn’t much retail in the area back then, but we were looking for an interesting space with a garden, and it seemed to be the perfect spot,” says Anna, who originally opened the business with her mum, Pam.

Fast forward a few years and the need for more space prompted a move next door into an old Wonderbra factory. Since then, much has changed.

“When we first opened, Ponsonby Road was artier, more bohemian, but it’s become a lot more gentrified. There are now more shops, more places to eat, more people. A lot of visitors, a lot of tourists.” There have been a host of changes within the business too.

“Lots happens in 25 years! Pam has retired, I’ve had kids, our pottery factory has moved to Waiheke and I have a new business partner Cherie Morley. Over the years The Garden Party has had stores in Newmarket, Wellington and the Wynyard Quarter, but Ponsonby has always been our flagship store, it’s always been the beating heart of The Garden Party.”

Anna and Cherie love Ponsonby, their local customers and wanted to stay on the strip. They are busier than they have ever been.

“We have to move because our existing space is being developed into a three-storey office block, but we wanted to stay in the same neighbourhood. We love our customers and want to keep them all. We felt that it was important to stay on Ponsonby Road.

"The new shop is in a great location close to Ponsonby Central, surrounded by great shops and just around the corner from our lovely friends The Poi Room.”

And although the location may be changing, The Garden Party ethos remains the same. “We’ve always strived to support local artists, designers and crafts people, showcasing their amazing work here in Aotearoa. Over the last 25 years we’ve developed amazing relationships with many of them and that’s one of the things I love most about my job. I hope we can continue doing exactly that for another 25 years.”

A five-day relocation sale kicks off on March 25th, with massive reductions on samples, seconds and one-off pieces. The new Garden Party opens early April, heralding a fresh lease of life for a much-loved icon.

THE GARDEN PARTY, 130 Ponsonby Road, T: 378 7799,