School gar­den cen­tres on com­mu­nity

Kaikoura Star - - OUT & ABOUT - PIPPA BROWN

A pri­mary school near Kaiko¯ura is look­ing to ex­tend its sense of com­mu­nity by set­ting up a sus­tain­able gar­den.

Ha­puku Pri­mary School al­ready has a cou­ple of herb gar­dens, but wants to take its com­mit­ment to gar­den­ing fur­ther.

The green space will have rain wa­ter tanks, newly-built gar­den beds, a tun­nel green­house and a chicken coop for five chick­ens which are on their way.

A chef by trade, prin­ci­pal Tai Hu­ata wants to fo­cus the gar­den around the com­mu­nity.

Hu­ata said af­ter the earth­quake the im­por­tance of gar­den­ing be­came ap­par­ent es­pe­cially around the Ha­puku com­mu­nity.

Tra­di­tion­ally the school has been a Civil De­fence post, pro­vid­ing a place for the com­mu­nity to gather, he said.

‘‘Some of our wha¯nau had their own gar­den, some chick­ens, and a wa­ter tank, and that gave them some in­de­pen­dence and they were able to sus­tain them­selves straight af­ter the earth­quake, and in the first cou­ple of weeks,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s also a good skill to learn.’’ The chil­dren have re­cy­cled shred­ded paper to make com­post, learnt to plant seeds and even talked about a worm farm, Hu­ata said.

The school had an open day on Satur­day to pre­pare their new gar­den for pupils to get plant­ing the seeds they had prop­a­gated.

But the school is also keen to learn tra­di­tional gar­den­ing meth­ods from the com­mu­nity.

‘‘Al­ready one of the wha¯nau grand­fa­thers, Doug Po­harama, has been out to col­lect seaweed to be used for com­post, some­thing that he has al­ways done for his own gar­den.’’

Hu­ata said a lot of the chil­dren had ques­tioned why they were learn­ing how to gar­den.

‘‘It’s been re­ally good for them, be­cause al­though some of the kids come from town they also come from out­ly­ing com­mu­ni­ties like Manga­maunu and Rakau­tara where they had their own gar­dens and chick­ens at home.

‘‘They un­der­stood that af­ter the quake the gar­den was good for them be­cause they couldn’t get into town to get sup­plies and if they got into town the sup­plies were at a pre­mium, but just hav­ing veg­eta­bles and eggs they had food to feed ev­ery­one,’’ Hu­ata said.

PHOTO: PIPPA BROWN/STUFF

Sa­man­tha Mayell and Linda Po­harama put the new chicken coop to­gether.

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