Robert Langholm started in bonsai in 1963 and established the Auckland Bonsai Society in 1966. He was president for 20 years and even after retiring from the role of president, he still teaches workshops and is an honorary life member. He also participates in national contests and workshops of the New Zealand national bonsai association (NZBA) and continues to display his works in his “Bonsaiville” bonsai garden at his home.
Mr Langholm was originally involved in agriculture when he became interested in bonsai and he has 26 years of experience working in horticulture for the Auckland City Council. In order to seriously study bonsai, he travelled to Los Angeles for 6 months in 1975 and in 1981 he was trained by the late Saburo Kato, former president of the World Bonsai Friendship Federation
Mr Langholm says that he loves nature, and as NZ has a climate similar to Japan it is a very good environment for raising bonsai. Sometimes he has made bonsai with plants that can only be found in NZ. Some people leave bonsai to wither, but in addition to taking on and recovering withering bonsai, Mr Langholm also gives advice on bonsai, holds workshops and organises exhibitions in various places. He likes to teach bonsai and it is fun to show these bonsai to everyone. Mr Langholm has exhibited in the annual "JAPAN DAY " Japanese cultural festival every year for the last 17 years.
Mr Langholm says that bonsai used to be thought of as an old man’s hobby but recently it is gaining attention around the world and even in New Zealand the younger generation are beginning to be interested in bonsai, some contacting him directly. However, there are many videos of people doing bonsai on the internet in their own “style” and it is regrettable that the knowledge and skills of bonsai are not being handed down well. From now on Mr Langholm would like to promote bonsai by direct interaction.