Native species planting day a family affair

Connecting her mokopuna with their land is important to Marlene Skeet.

And while the Hawke’s Bay grandmother was visiting her daughter Charlotte in Oamaru, she was given the opportunity to do just that at the Waitaki Community Gardens planting day.

Ms Skeet, and her mokopuna (grandchildren) Arlie Skeet and Rakaihautu Boyt spent Saturday helping plant 14 native species at the new site, connected to the existing gardens site through a gate, where the gardens were expanding to create a "folk school".

The keen planter — who helped with plantings in the Kaweka Ranges — said it was a lovely experience for the entire group.

"It’s been fantastic. I’ve really enjoyed it."

Spending the day together helping plant native species at the Waitaki Community Gardens are...
Spending the day together helping plant native species at the Waitaki Community Gardens are Marlene Skeet and her mokopuna Arlie Skeet (left) and Rakaihautu Boyt (both 2). PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE
It was the second weekend of planting days, and gardens volunteer and site co-ordinator Ra McRostie was overwhelmed with the response.

"I’ve felt really honoured. I’ve really enjoyed the interactions and I feel so grateful," Ms McRostie said.

About 40 people helped through the two weekends, children, parents and grandparents all playing an active role in helping create the new space.

The new space had always been owned by the gardens, and the planting days were a start to using the area as more of a community hub, she said.

"The first steps is to bring this to life. We’re wanting to create a native corridor that connects the public gardens with the dog park and beyond."

More than 1100 plants were to be planted, and those not finished yesterday would be completed during the gardens’ working bees on Mondays and Wednesdays.

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