Waiatarua Reserve Planting Day 2016

12 July 2016

Planting 1,100 trees and shrubs sounds like a mammoth task. However, when the community puts in the spade work together it is amazing what can be achieved in a very short time.

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Photo: Orakei Local Board candidate Carmel Claridge and Orakei councillor candidate Desley Simpson. Desley, famous for her glamous attire and ability to get her hands dirty, did not disappoint. Waiatarua Planting, 2016

On a chilly, but crisp and clear Saturday afternoon in July, between 50 – 60 people, including eight excited children, rocked up in their gumboots to participate in the annual community planting event at the Waiatarua Wetlands organised by the Waiatarua Reserve Protection Society.  Several diligent V.I.P canine supervisors patrolled the area and kept a keen eye on the proceedings.

Waiatarua Reserve is a precious amenity in our neighbourhood comprising of large open green spaces, walking tracks and a unique wetlands area in its centre. The tracts of planting on its perimeter also offer a safe habitat for native forest bird species. Yolanda Thorp, Chair of the Society says…”The ongoing vision is not only that the park caters for people to walk, play, and use as a recreation area, but is also a true native forest in our city, providing urban children an opportunity to experience a piece of New Zealand bush…” With that in mind, Saturday’s planting was predominantly of a range of species that provide fruit and nectar for native birds.

The kids had a ball decked out in their gardening gear and getting little hands stuck into the soil. Much delight ensued when it was discovered that hole digging unearthed a good cache of fat healthy worms and a re-homing program was quickly established by our mini organizers. The joy of the youngsters being outside happily engrossed in the planting process was evident, with many taking the opportunity to impart inter-generational lessons about the value of nurturing our natural environment.

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Photo: Worm hunters and canine assistant, Waiatarua Planting 2016

With many hands on deck from organizations including the Meadowbank St Johns Residents’ Association (MBSJRA), Conservation Volunteers, Young Professionals Group of Tonkin & Taylor and members of Waiatarua Reserve Protection Society, what initially looked like a daunting task was happily completed with all plants in the ground, mulched and staked in just over two hours.

The event was generously supported by Rotary Sunshine Club of Ellerslie and Auckland Council providing funding for the plants, supply of mulch, and the much appreciated afternoon tea prepared by Sarah Peters, Auckland Council Volunteer Coordination Officer for thirsty and hungry volunteers.

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Photo: Job Done! Carmel Claridge along with MSJRA current chair, Tim Duguid, and past chair, Ruth Mackintosh, Waiatarua Planting, 2016.

In attendance supporting the event were MBSJRA departing Chair Ruth Mackintosh and new Chairman Tim Duguid, Auckland Council candidate Desley Simpson, Mayoral aspirant Mark Thomas, and Orakei Local Board (OLB) candidates Toni Millar and Carmel Claridge.

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MBSJRA chair Tim Duguid and Auckland mayoral candidate Mark Thomas

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Photo: OLB candidate Toni Millar with kid-helpers

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Photo: MBSJRA past chair Ruth Mackintosh and the smallest wheelbarrower

Photo and Story Credit: Carmel Claridge.