The fernery, opened in December 1987, is named and dedicated to Marge Maddren, a stalwart of conservation in the Whangarei area and founder and past president of the Whangarei Native Forest and Bird Protection Society.
The society donated money for the building of the fernery and often volunteered with yearly working bees.
The fernery boasts one of New Zealand’s largest collections of native ferns found in New Zealand and its offshore islands. It has three shade houses and a linking tunnel, ponds and a small waterfall and courtyard area.
The central pond is home to three large eels which are fed every second or third day.
Within the fernery is the Finn Bruce Filmy Fern House. This is a purpose-built adobe brick house that is home to a small collection of New Zealand native filmy ferns.
The room is air-conditioned and is misted twice a day as the filmy ferns like cool damp conditions.