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How a sunflower farm in Waikato turned grief into joy for thousands of visitors

The Taupiri Sunflower Farm in Waikato has become a popular destination for people who want to experience the beauty and happiness of sunflowers. The farm, which covers about 10 acres of land, has over 100,000 sunflowers of different varieties and colours. Visitors can walk through the fields, take photos, and pick their own flowers for a small fee.

A tribute to a lost sister

The farm was started by Deanne and Phil Crowder, who are passionate gardeners and farmers. They decided to plant sunflowers in 2020 as a tribute to Deanne’s sister, who was killed in a car accident 20 years ago. Sunflowers were her favourite flowers and they adorned her casket at her funeral.

Deanne says that sunflowers have a special meaning for her and her family. “They represent hope, happiness, and resilience. They always face the sun and they brighten up any day,” she says.

The couple initially planted about 2,000 sunflowers along the fence line of their farm and sold them at the roadside. They were surprised by the positive response from the public and the demand for their flowers. They decided to expand their sunflower project in 2021 and planted the front paddocks with sunflower seeds.

How a sunflower farm in Waikato turned grief into joy for thousands of visitors

A healing place for many

The Taupiri Sunflower Farm opened to the public in December 2021 and has attracted thousands of visitors from all over New Zealand. Many people have shared their stories of how the sunflowers have helped them cope with their own grief, loss, or depression.

Deanne, who suffers from depression herself, says that the farm is a healing place for her and many others. “I think everyone just needs a bit of happiness right now. If you can just keep a little bit of sunshine for yourself when you have those rainy days, I think that makes all the difference of just getting through it,” she says.

Phil says that he is proud of what they have achieved and the impact they have made on people’s lives. “We didn’t expect this to be such a big thing. We just wanted to do something nice for ourselves and our community. But it’s amazing to see how many people come here and leave with a smile on their face,” he says.

A summer attraction for all ages

The Taupiri Sunflower Farm is open every day from 9am to 5pm until the end of February 2023, weather permitting. Visitors can book their tickets online or pay at the gate. They can also buy sunflower seeds, honey, and other products at the farm shop.

The farm is suitable for all ages and offers a fun and relaxing activity for families, couples, friends, and solo travellers. The sunflowers provide a stunning backdrop for photos and selfies, and many visitors have posted their pictures on social media with the hashtag #taupirisunflowerfarm.

Deanne and Phil say that they are grateful for the support and feedback they have received from their customers and the media. They hope that their sunflower farm will continue to grow and bring joy to many more people in the future.

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