Saturday 5th November – a significant day in the life of our new community garden, known as the Mairehau Neighbourhood Garden. How did we arrive at this name? Let’s break it down: ‘Mairehau’ because this is the suburb we primarily assist with kai support; ‘Neighbourhood’ because we are the Neighbourhood Trust and we serve our neighbourhood; and ‘Garden’, well that really needs no explanation.
The day of the grand opening dawned sunny, so nothing was going to hinder a celebration. It was great to see a good gathering of supporters who comprised former and current local body politicians, sponsors and donors, interested parties, and not least many people who gave time to volunteer their services in seeing this come to reality. We are incredibly grateful to you all.
The first part of the celebration from 10am involved planting out of seedlings that have been grown and donated. At 11:30am we had some formalities including speeches, acknowledgements, reflections, karakia and Storm speaking about the mural that he and his wife created. A significant acknowledgement paid respect to the 5th of November being the anniversary of Parihaka – a scene of militia action in 1881 that was met by local Maori with passive resistance. Parihaka is a settlement on the western side of Mount Taranaki – in 1881 it was a place of abundant cropping and livestock, much of which was destroyed in the invasion. Kai is such an important part of knitting communities together – it was back then, and it still is today. It is our dream that this new garden will be more than just producing kai. We also want it to be a place of teaching and learning, as well as a place of rest and relaxation where people can enjoy the space. The ceremony was completed when Storm and Don planted a commemorative kowhai tree, following which we enjoyed kai together while sitting in and around the garden in conversation.
Massive thanks go to Green Lab who have guided us through the process of building a community garden. There are many people involved, but little space here to do justice to all. So there are a couple of people who we want to especially acknowledge. Khye Hitchcock (Green Lab Director) has walked this journey with us and been so incredibly helpful and hard-working with advice, resources and good processes for getting things done. Tom Philpotts (Green Lab Build Lead) is the builder who has overseen the transition from architectural drawings on paper to the reality of what we see today. His craftsmanship and attention to detail has made something functional look incredibly beautiful. Storm and Cara Waiwai (Neighbourhood Trust volunteers) can also not escape a mention. This couple do not seek recognition, yet the mural they have created to go with the garden is exceptional. There is a story behind it and it speaks beautifully to the kaupapa of the garden.
We are so proud of this space and invite you to come and take a look sometime. It can be found in the carpark of St Albans Baptist Church, 64 McFaddens Road (access to carpark off Redwood Place). There will be weekly times when the garden is open for people to come and sow, re-pot, weed, prune, and eventually harvest and prepare kai. To find out more about this visit our Mairehau Neighbourhood Garden Facebook page (@NHTGarden).
Saturday 5th November – a significant day in the life of our new community garden, known as the Mairehau Neighbourhood Garden.
Here are some photos of the day.