Murray Howell – 66yr old florist living in the Kiwifruit Capital of NZ, Te Puke
In 1998 I came across and advertisement in the local paper of a floristry course being held @ Windermere Poly Tech. I thought to myself “this is a bit of me” (while other people thought that I was bonkers!) The head tutor was keen to take me on for the course being a male as they hadn’t had many males in the course.
I started the course, which was attended by 40 students that ran for a year. I found it a challenge on all aspects being back at school at the age of 40! But finishing the year as the top practical student I was then fortunate to be then taken on working at the Bays leading Floral Studio ‘From the Heart Flowers & Gifts’ owned by Bruce Topp. This was such a privilege to work alongside such a talented man who had been at the forefront of the Floral Industry where his career had started in ‘Spiros of Remuera’. Bruce taught me the technical side of floristry but also allowed me the freedom of expression.
After 5yrs of training, I felt confident enough to open my own studio. I wanted my studio to be close to my home, which is Te Puke.
I noticed a studio was up for sale, approaching the owner I then brought ‘Te Puke Florist’
By sticking to my work ethics I established a loyal clientele and successful business with the help and support of Interflora which I have been loyal to since the beginning of my career.
Most memorable moment would be, being lucky enough to assist Overseas Designers when they have come to NZ to take workshops/seminars with the likes of Gregor Lersch. There have been also many memorable moments working alongside like-minded creative people, but also the joy and pleasure of everyday creativity in fulfilling a clients requirements. I have met so many wonderful people and I have established many lasting friendships within the community as well as the Interflora members.
I especially enjoyed my time on the Board at Interflora being in charge of Education, travelling to different centres and networking with all our wonderful Florists.
All flowers are my favourites’ as everyone of them has a place in creative design.
Spring would be my favourite season as I find it the most fragrant time of year and the memories it evokes from my childhood as I remember my Grandmothers wonderful garden and the promise of regeneration.