Gardens plant seeds of community wellbeing

29 October 2021

Gardens plant seeds of community wellbeing

A joint community gardening project between NorthTec and Manaia View School celebrated its first birthday this month.

The Raumanga primary school’s community garden has flourished since its development, which took place with the help of NorthTec’s horticulture ākonga (learners) and kaiako (tutors). It has also facilitated growth in community engagement and student knowledge.

NorthTec horticulture tutor, Mike Shepheard, has provided a wealth of knowledge to learners and the community over the last year. NorthTec learners have joined the school students and the community in caring for the plants and trees, and provided a steady supply of seedlings to reduce the financial impact of the garden.

Manaia View School has also  worked in partnership with two other schools and several local businesses. In the process, the students and their whānau have become more knowledgeable and interested in the growth of their own kai, and the rangatahi (young people) have enjoyed a healthy diet.

The school has been able to offer free fruit and vegetables to the community, and has hosted planting days and bonfire nights to initiate connection among local residents. It has plans to encourage more community connection, starting with the building of a garden shelter and gathering facilities. Further plans involve footpaths to help connect the community to the gardens, and a possible bike pump track for the younger members.

NorthTec’s own on-campus community garden, established in 2015, has also continued to flourish. The garden consists of four raised planting beds, developed and maintained as a joint project between NorthTec’s Foundation learners, horticulture tutors and students, and the campus facilities team.

The garden currently supplies the on-site Apprentice Café and NorthTec’s hospitality programmes. It is also open to kaimahi (staff), ākonga, and members of the local community, who are all welcome to take from it as needed.