Community garden becomes a reality

CEO of Te Whangai Trust, Gary Dalton, Sergeant John Hill, MP Andrew Bayly, Paul Matthews and members of TeWhangai Trust and residents of Birdwood Road stand in the vacant lot where the community garden is currentlybeing constructed.

CEO of Te Whangai Trust, Gary Dalton, Sergeant John Hill, MP Andrew Bayly, Paul Matthews and members of TeWhangai Trust and residents of Birdwood Road stand in the vacant lot where the community garden is currentlybeing constructed.

What began as vision from the residents of Birdwood Road East, Pukekohe, has since been turned into a reality, thanks to the members of the community.

Pita Kara and Paul Matthews had a vision to turn a vacant lot at the end of Birdwood Road into a community garden, and approached the idea to MP Andrew Bayly during a visit to the residential area.
Fast forward to four months later, and the initiative has become a reality, with several community groups and Franklin businesses coming on board to lend a helping hand last Thursday.
Te Whangai Trust, the Police, Envirofert and Mitre 10 Mega, Pukekohe, have all welcomed the idea, which has seen donations of items, including volunteer labour, to help make the garden a success.
The community garden began construction last Thursday, which saw the vacant lot completely cleared of the rubbish and overgrown weeds. Once finished, it will consist of three garden beds, a composting system, a park area and picnic and barbeque area.
Birdwood Road resident, Pita Kare, said that he was stoked the garden was finally beginning to take place.
“We really needed an area for our young tamariki to play, rather than using the road as a playground.”
Paul Matthews, a new resident to Birdwood Road, said that he is looking forward to the residents taking ownership of the garden.
“We will be able to plant whatever fruit and vegetables that they like. If we do it right, there will be fresh food all the time. I encourage the community to come down and give us a hand.”
Paul and Pita were taken under Gary Dalton’s (CEO of Te Whangai Trust) wing, and shown examples what community gardens can become.
They were taken through both Tuakau’s and a whanau garden in Te Kohanga, and left feeling inspired.
Andrew Bayly and Sergeant John Hill both agree that the garden will help build relationships within the Pukekohe community.
“All in all, we are working together to build relationships, and give help to the residents to be able to help themselves,” said John.
“We cannot thank everyone who has helped make this garden possible. We are really looking forward to seeing it progress,” said Andrew.

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