In­ner-city gar­den seeks vol­un­teers

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS LEE

Kel­marna Gar­den is en­cour­ag­ing will­ing helpers to lend a hand, to en­sure the city-fringe idyll is sus­tained for years to come.

The or­ganic gar­den has lain tucked away in Herne Bay for more than three decades where veg­eta­bles are grown, chick­ens raised and cows grazed. It is still in search of non­prof­its and com­mu­nity groups to help share the load, af­ter men­tal health provider Frame­work Ser­vices de­cided to with­draw as the gar­den’s op­er­a­tional part­ner in Fe­bru­ary.

Gar­den manager Adrian Roche says los­ing Frame­work has been tough.

But its loyal care­tak­ers see it as a golden op­por­tu­nity to bring some new faces – and more im­por­tantly green­fin­gers – to the gar­den, he says.

‘‘It’s a good thing. We’ve al­ways been very wel­com­ing to peo­ple be­cause we didn’t want to be an iso­lated men­tal health pro­gramme. We wanted to be part of the com­mu­nity, but we didn’t ac­tively go out and seek peo­ple and now we are.’’

‘‘We have to jus­tify why we’re here be­cause this is a com­mu­nity as­set and like any as­set the com­mu­nity has to use it.’’

The Kel­marna Com­mu­nity Gar­den Trust leases the land from Auck­land Coun­cil and Frame­work had used the gar­dens as a ther­a­peu­tic cen­tre since 1992.

The one-acre or­ganic gar­den is sur­rounded by pad­docks stocked by Mt Al­bert Gram­mar School’s farm depart­ment.

The trust has been awarded a $6000 grant from the Waitem­ata Lo­cal Board to help fund four new projects, in­clud­ing the cre­ation of a neigh­bour­hood out­reach pro­gramme and an events cal­en­dar.

‘‘It’s re­as­sur­ing and gives us time to get more fund­ing,’’ Roche says.

‘‘The long-term vi­sion is that the com­mu­nity will sup­port it, but there’s still a lot of un­cer­tainty.’’

Trust chair­woman Mary Paul says the gar­den is in need of more sub­stan­tial, long-term fund­ing to sur­vive.

‘‘Peo­ple are com­ing for­ward, but we need more peo­ple.

‘‘We need peo­ple to be com­mit­ted, proac­tive and in­volved,’’ she says. ‘‘It’s not like an or­di­nary com­mu­nity gar­den – it’s more of a taonga, it’s a very spe­cial place.’’

Paul says the gar­den is in need of vol­un­teers to help with a va­ri­ety of tasks in­clud­ing paint­ing, car­pen­try, cooking and gar­den­ing.

Herne Bay res­i­dent Ella Rickit has been vol­un­teer­ing at the gar­den for the past few months. ‘‘It’s beau­ti­ful and tran­quil. ‘‘I find it re­ally sat­is­fy­ing do­ing some­thing with my hands and within na­ture, be­cause my whole life is just de­vices and screens. So it’s just re­ally nice to to­tally get away from tech­nol­ogy,’’ she says.

‘‘My fam­ily rents and you never know how long you’re go­ing to get to stay at a rental, so hav­ing a plot to learn gar­den­ing and grow veg­eta­bles sounded re­ally cool. It’s per­fect for us.’’


Kel­marna Gar­dens’ manager Adrian Roche.


Herne Bay’s Kel­marna Gar­dens is in need of new care­tak­ers.

Pro­duce from the gar­dens.

Go to auck­land­c­i­ty­har­bournews. and click on Lat­est Edi­tion to see a video of the gar­den.

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