A garden that showcases different varieties of New Zealand's indigenous flora in north-eastern France is being credited with promoting Māori culture in Europe.
Te Putake was developed in Laquenexy for the 2013 Fruit Gardens Event to showcase Māori culture and tradition.
The project leader, National list MP Tutehounuku Korako from Banks Peninsula, said the inspiration came after Christchurch hosted the Ellerslie International Garden Show.
Mr Korako said he realised the event had no Māori element to it.
He said after that he developed Te Waipounamu Garden, which featured native plants from the South Island. It caught the attention of a judge from France - who took the idea back to Laquenexy.
Mr Korako said, since then, the garden has become a popular attraction that promotes Māori culture. "They come to see Te Putake, the Māori Garden," he said.
Mr Korako said a Ngāi Tahu singer-songwriter's music also serenades tourists as they meander through the garden.
"Ariana Tikao, for instance, composed some music for it. They also sell pounamu and authentic Māori souvenirs and all that over there as well.
"It's also being able to promote our Māoritanga internationally as well".
Mr Korako said because Lacquenexy was close to countries such as Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Belgium, it also attracted gardening enthusiasts from those countries.
He said the concept for the garden drew on ancient tribal stories about 'Te Pātaka a Rākaihautū' (The Storehouse of Rākaihautū) - and how Rākaihautū used his digging stick Tuhuraki to carve out the Southern Alps, lakes and rivers, and raked the Canterbury Plains.
The Ngāi Tahu man said it was fortunate that Laquenexy had a good climate for growing these kinds of native New Zealand plants.
"It's ideal because the region gets a lot of rain in the spring time, and what they do in the winter... they actually bring the plants indoors," Mr Korako said.
"They also put korowai (traditional cloaks) over the carvings to protect them from the harsh winter."