Oranga Kai Ora Gardens opens for the community
After days of gusty wind and rain, the sun came out for the launch of the Oranga Kai Ora Gardens on the first day of October – and so did the community. Neighbours, community leaders, Kāinga Ora staff, builders, and children from the local community centre programme, all gathered together to bless the garden and witness the planting of the first tree – a rose apple.
The garden on Oranga Ave is part of the Oranga Development by Kāinga Ora, which, over the next eight years, will see around 1000 new homes, replacing around 335 old state homes in the area.
The garden has been a partnership between the community, Kāinga Ora and Piritahi from the start. Kāinga Ora wanted to give something back to the community with a garden space; Piritahi, which is in charge of house removal and land remediation, prepared the site; and a community Kaitiaki group will help coordinate planting, distribution of kai, and access to the site.
The name, Oranga Kai Ora Gardens, was chosen from community’s suggestions, and a sign was unveiled on the day, created by a local resident.
“The garden is a really positive thing, in a time that has been hard for a lot of people. It’s food grown by the community, for the community and anyone is welcome. There will be enough space for all to take part and enjoy,” says Ron Muavae, project coordinator of local community programme, Synergy Project.
“The Kaitiaki group are finalising a planting layout that people can follow. Harvesting will be done by those who are contributing, with the guidance of the Kaitiaki team, and produce shared first to the gardeners, with the surplus going to the rest of the community and the local foodbank for struggling families.”
The next generation of gardeners is also involved, with planter boxes being built by young people taking part in the local Holiday Programmes and Drop-In Programmes, with help from local builders.
Brendon Hosken, Kāinga Ora development manager, who jointly cut the ribbon, says that they wanted to provide the community with something, as a way of giving back.
“We are having an effect on the community, so we want to part of that community, and providing this garden space is one way we can do that.”
(The Kaitiaki Team for the gardens plant the first tree – Karamia Ropiha, Premila Mensah, Charmaine Tainui, Jeanette Canthorne, Mele, Luisa Aholelei)