Cul­ti­vat­ing kids

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS -

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.

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