Three generations enjoyed planting in Maara Roa Reserve recently.
Friends of Maara Roa, who are restoring the Belmont Regional Park valley that runs from near the Cannons Creek shopping centre to Takapu Rd in northern Tawa, met up with Paremata Playcentre’s preschoolers and their parents for a morning of planting on November 25.
Maara Roa’s Juliet Bellingham told them the name comes from the story of a Maori woman who grew fruit and vegetables in the valley and shared them generously with all. She was so well known for her hospitality that travellers called her home The Long Garden (Maara Roa).
For 10 years volunteers have planted thousands of plants in the valley, with 4000 planted this year alone. The plants are grown by volunteers or donated by organisations such as Porirua City Council and Keep Porirua Beautiful.
After a how-to demonstration by Neil Bellingham, about 25 preschoolers helped to dig holes, unwrap plants, add fertiliser and plant shrubs.
Mr Bellingham said that if plants were not planted in the correct way, like children, they could sulk.
Paremata Playcentre member Coralie Morrison was thrilled to be introduced to such a hidden gem and said she would definitely be returning with her family to the reserve.
‘‘The children enjoyed the walk around the upper lake to do the planting. The older kids were thrilled by the big worms they found and loved getting water out of the lake to hydrate the plants. Feeding the ducks topped off a lovely trip.’’
Paremata Playcentre plans to make a Maara Roa planting session an annual event.
Planting party: From left, Carter Birmingham, Neil Bellingham, Coralie Morrison and Charlie Pratt get their hands dirty as part of Paremata Playcentre’s trip to Maara Roa.