Jenny Rowden started the Great Pumpkin Carnival in 2009 as an event to celebrate pumpkins, showcase Hamilton Gardens and to be a fun family day out for people of all ages.

We held the very first event in the kitchen gardens, which it quickly outgrew. We moved to the Rhododendron Lawn.

Over the year’s The Great Pumpkin Carnival has grown and developed to include more categories to enter, things to see and do and more fun for the entire family.

Home of firsts

The Great Pumpkin Carnival is currently the home of the heaviest pumpkin, ever grown in New Zealand,  weighing Tim Harris’s 844.5kg weighed on the 28th of March 2021


We were also the location of the very first pumpkin boats ever rowed in NZ, with the maiden voyage taking place in Turtle lake in 2014.

Pumpkin Boats Racing

Official GPC site

We are also the only weigh-off site in the country that is associated with the GPC (Great Pumpkin Commonwealth), the worldwide governing body for giant pumpkin weigh-offs.


Minimum Sugar

We try to keep our even a minimum sugar event, by choosing food vendors that share this thinking with us and by making changes with what is on offer.