140 Years Of Yates Gardening

140 Years Of Yates Gardening

Yates has established itself as an integral part of Australasian gardening history, but much of the company’s success rests on its ability to adapt to changes in lifestyle and to continue meeting the needs of gardeners in each new generation.

Yates was founded by Arthur Yates, an Englishman who migrated to New Zealand in 1879 to escape the damp weather of his native Manchester. The seed business that Arthur opened in Auckland in 1883 was the beginning of what was to become one of the most recognised names in New Zealand gardening.

In 1886 Arthur visited Sydney, where he saw an opportunity to establish a similar enterprise. In the following year of 1887 he left his brother, Ernest, to manage the New Zealand seed business and opened a branch in Sussex Street, Sydney. In 1906 the two brothers came to an amicable agreement to separate the two companies and run them independently either side of the Tasman. This continued until the late 1980s, when the two companies were rejoined.

By 1893 Arthur had launched his seed packet range for home gardeners. He prided himself on always selling the best quality seeds and ‘Yates Reliable Seeds’ became the company’s catch-cry. As time passed Yates became more and more an integral part of the garden, selling a range of products that included fertilisers, sprays, pots, potting mix and tools, as well as seeds. In 1895 Arthur saw the need for a publication that answered gardeners’ questions, so he wrote the first Yates Garden Guide, a comprehensive gardening book that is still published more than 120 years later.


Yates Today

We love gardens, whether its pot or pasture, balcony or backyard, we love them all.

We love the first strawberry, fresh cut lawns, straight cut hedges, ladybugs and butterflies.

We love dirty hands, the smell of manure, kinked hoses and thorny roses.

We love the planting, pruning, weeding, watering, feeding and the fulfilment.

We love seeing something grow from nothing.

We believe the garden is a magical place.

At Yates we want to be there with you as you create a space that makes your world a better place.

We love the gardening journey, we are there to inspire, inform, encourage and provide a helping hand.

We love the problems, we love the solutions.

We believe you grow so much more than a garden.

We believe that a garden brings you happiness, that its good for the heart, spirit and soul.

We are a team of passionate gardeners dedicated to helping everyone discover the joy of gardening and seeing success in their back (or front) yard. We want to help you grow so much more than a garden!


Yates Gardening History Timeline

1879       Arthur Yates emigrated from United Kingdom to New Zealand

1883       Founded New Zealand company

1887       Opened in Australia

1895       Wrote first Yates Garden Guide

1906       New Zealand and Australian companies separated

1906       Transferred to larger premises in Queen Street, Auckland

1911       Transferred again to larger shop and warehouse in Albert Street, Auckland

1921       First branch opened at Whangerei

1926       Death of Arthur Yates. Eldest son Harold became Managing Director

1945       Christchurch branch established

1958       Palmerston North branch established

1960       Wellington branch established

1964       Hamilton branch established

1985       Equiticorp New Zealand acquires control of Yates New Zealand

1987       Yates New Zealand acquired by Yates Australia following collapse of Equiticorp New Zealand

1989       Head office and national warehouse moved to Henderson Place, Onehunga

1993       Yates floated on Australian Stock Exchange

1995       Celebrated centenary of the Yates NZ Garden Guide

1996       Sale of Samuel Yates Ltd (UK) to Sakata Seed Europe

1998       Sale of Billy Peach Pet Business

1998       Acquisition of Watkins New Zealand Ltd

2001       Scheme of Arrangement with Norgard Clohessy Equity Limited. NCE changed its name to Yates Limited.

2002       Transferred to purpose-built property in Neilson Street, Onehunga

2004       Yates Limited sold Yates Australia & New Zealand to Orica Australia Pty Ltd

2008       Yates celebrates its 125th birthday in New Zealand

2010       Orica demerges Consumer Product Division (which includes Yates). The renamed DuluxGroup becomes a stand-alone company

2012       Yates celebrates its 125th birthday in Australia

2014       Yates celebrates Thrive’s 50th Birthday

2018       OCP joins the Yates Gardening Family

2019       DuluxGroup purchased by Nippon Paint Holdings Co. Ltd.

2023       Yates NZ Wins 'Most Trusted Brand' in Garden Care at Readers Digest Awards, for the 10th consecutive year