A simple planting of kumara tipu (seedling) at the Te Puea Orchard turned into an amazing opportunity for intergenerational knowledge sharing and a heartwarming example of a collaborative effort between community and local organisations.
On the 1st of November, junior students of Rotorua Boys High School, students of the Diploma of Applied Science from Toi Ohomai, members of the Rotorua Community, lead by representatives of Kai Rotorua made quick work of planting rows of a variety of kumara seedlings.
Other collaborators included, Healthy Families Rotorua, Rotorua Lakes Council Neighbourhood Matching fund, Mitre 10, Think Tank Charitable Trust, Te Runanga o Ngati Rangiteaorere and Mokoia Community Association, all who worked together to make the day possible.
Te Puea Orchard owners, Carl and Cheryl Dibley gifted one acre of land to Kai Rotorua. Produce grown from the land will eventually be sold as part of the Food Hub social enterprise. Potatoes and tomatoes are currently being grown alongside the kumara. The Food Hub will also distribute seedlings to community groups and Marae maara.
Te Arawa elder Te Ariki Morehu opened the day with a karakia and ackowledged the opportunity Rotorua Boys High School had given to their students to learn from some of Rotorua’s most knowledgable gardeners. Te Rangikaheke Kiripatea is a key champion in the organisation of days such as this on behalf of Kai Rotorua. The attendees were also privilledged to have Bernie Hornfeck lead a short tutorial on how to plant the kumara seedlings.
Manager for Healthy Families Rotorua Mapihi Raharuhi says, “It is no secret that local produce is a rarity, so being able to support initatives that also have the community at heart is a great thing”
The kumara, potatoes and tomatoes will be harvestable in 6 months time in early 2018.
Kai Rotorua was an initiative supported by Healthy Families Rotorua, Rotorua Lakes Council and Toi Te Ora Public Health Unit.