School garden centres on community
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.
Samantha Mayell and Linda Poharama put the new chicken coop together.