Hōhepa crew find joy in red zone planting project

Caring for the environment : Newsline.
Caring for the environment : Newsline.
Every Tuesday morning, a cheerful bunch of volunteers can be found working at the Swanns Road Pocket Park in Christchurch’s red zone.

Amongst lots of good-natured banter and chatter, the crew are getting wind-grasses planted at the park.

Crew member Stephen says that the planting work is fun, easy and he loves it, while his friend Adam is enjoying meeting new people.

The crew belong to the Hōhepa Canterbury community and are part of a collaborative project between Council and Avon Ōtākaro Network.

The Hōhepa crew also work in Richmond Community Garden and the Fungi Farm.

Hayley Guglietta, Network Manager at Avon Ōtākaro Network, says the collaboration is a “win-win” for everyone involved.

“It helps us get the planting done, and the residents are out enjoying nature. We really like working with Hōhepa.”

Once established, the Swanns Road Pocket Park will become a living example on how to encourage native biodiversity.

Trees and shrubs planted at the back will attract birds, while wind-grasses for insects and plants for lizards are at the front. Ongaonga (native stinging nettle) is being safely planted further back to attract native butterflies.

Fruit trees will be grafted towards the front of the park for red zone foragers, along with herbs.

The park will take about two years to establish, and Ms Guglietta says the Hōhepa crew will help with the establishment and maintenance during that time, which will be hugely helpful.

Sarah Mankelow, Community Partnership Ranger at Council, says Parks' staff understand the many benefits of being outside and caring for the environment, and love to share that experience with a wide range of people.

“Every person has something of value to contribute and no person should experience a barrier to participating in community life because of a disability or limitation.”

Hōhepa Canterbury is a non-profit residential and day service community for people with intellectual disabilities.

The Hōhepa mission is supportive communities, inspired by anthroposophy, that celebrate the diverse ways of being human.

If you would like to support the work Hōhepa do in the community, or learn more about the organisation, you can do so here.