Members of the Paekākāriki Greener Neighbourhoods from Tilley Road and Ocean Square recently celebrated a massive year of community action. Up to 20 neighbours from both areas joined council staff who support the Greener Neighbourhoods initiative and councillor Janet Holborow to weed the north end Tilley Road reserve, which backs onto Queen Elizabeth Park, followed by afternoon tea at Paekākāriki school.
“Having lived in a Greener Neighbourhood, I’ve experienced how it brings people together,” councillor Holborow says. “It’s a great way to get to know your neighbours by achieving positive environmental outcomes and community projects together. Greener Neighbourhoods is a great collaboration between council, neighbourhoods and the wider community to help create genuinely resilient, sustainable and connected environments. The resilience and community spirit that results lasts long after the end of the challenge.”
Some highlights from the Paekākāriki groups include holding a civil defence weekend where residents went without electricity and/or water for up to 48 hours, a street party, a multitude of composting, gardening and waterwise workshops with the council’s Green Gardener Hannah Zwartz, home renovation advice from the council’s Eco-Design advisor Richard Morrison and many, many waste minimisation initiatives.
Jason Dykes (above) and Joe Wilson (below) hard at work
These include ‘no junk mail’ stickers for P.O. Box holders and exploration of options around installing recycling bins in the Paekākāriki village alongside the bins that go to landfill. Local builder John Wraight also held a ‘recycled pallet’ workshop at the school to build compost bins and a bike shed from recycled wooden pallets. The bike shed was donated to a family who had received bikes from the Paekākāriki Bike Library, a scheme which also came out of the Greener Neighbourhoods project which recycles old bikes and lends them to children so they can get to school.
“The best part for me was really getting to know the people in my street through a series of mostly garden-focused, workshops,” says Tilley Road resident Tina Pope. “The street party drew people not involved in other ways and new connections were made. Our home is much more focused on reducing waste and consumption in lots of ways we hadn’t thought about before. Our power bills have gone down; we use the car less; nothing that was once alive leaves our property – it all goes back into building the soil and growing food; and we’re really thinking about the true impact of what we buy.”
Our most recent members to the Greener Neighbourhoods project are from the Goldsborough Ave, Gabriel Street and Nugget Grove (GGN) neighbourhood in Raumati Beach. They organised a post-flood beach clean-up on Saturday to clean up rubbish left on the beach after last month’s flooding.
After the storms, a member of the public rang the council to express their concern about the amount of litter that had been washed up on the beach. The residents of the GGN neighbourhood in Raumati Beach are new to Greener Neighbourhoods, but after a call from council’s sustainable communities coordinator, they quickly sprung into action and the litter clean up was soon advertised through flyers, facebook and on local radio.
Kate Foley, one of the lead contacts for the GGN neighbourhood contacted Raumati Beach school to let them know about the litter clean up. Members of the Raumati Beach School Association and the school’s EcoTeam were soon on board and spot prizes were kindly donated by water engineering firm, WaterOutlook. The weather held out and forty people turned up to clean the beach. At least a dozen rubbish bags were filled with rubbish which included a broken chair, a traffic cone, a punctured lilo and four old car tyres.
“It was a really encouraging sight to see people from our local community getting together to look after one of our most valuable amenities, our beach. It provided a great opportunity to meet other “Raumaitians”, connect and share ideas about other ways to build stronger neighbourhoods and a community. Everyone that came along should feel proud about their contribution to making a difference in our community,” Mrs Foley said.
Rubbish bags, gloves and rubbish bag pick-up was provided free through Kāpiti Coast District Council, as part of their commitment to waste minimisation and supporting sustainable community projects. What a great community effort!
Greener neighbours from Gavin Road, Fincham Road and Matai Road have been given the go ahead by the Paraparaumu and Raumati Community Board to build a community garden. The garden site is situated in the sheltered far corner of the Matai Road reserve, next to the Arts Society building (see location map). It will be planted with a variety of vegetables and herbs in raised beds, with plenty of room in the 180 square metre section for fruit trees and future garden developments, including compost bins and barrels for rainwater catchment off the Arts Society roof. The garden will grow fresh vegetables for the neighbours but also provides an opportunity for the community to come together, learn new skills, build resilience and become more sustainable. Excess produce will be available to non-members and to local organisations such as food banks.
Members from 20 households have attended initial meetings to establish the garden so far and the group now needs donations of fence posts, tools, long boards (200cm x 50cm) and soil or materials to make soil in the raised beds (compost, fertiliser, newspaper, straw). With plans to build the beds in the next month, any donations of green crop seeds or seedlings would also be gratefully accepted (beans, lupins, mustard, peas). Closer to spring, people can also bring along seedlings for the garden ready for spring planting. Anyone out there with skills in woodcraft, composting, landscape gardening or general handyman skills would also be very appreciated.
For more information, visit http://mataicommunitygarden.org/ or contact Yvonne P: 04 9044798 or E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Better late than never – Thanks to all the wonderful Green Neighbourhood volunteers who helped out at the Kāpiti Sustainable Home & Garden Show – Emma, Hilary, Heather and Yvonne from the Matai group in Raumati and Tina, Louise, Jayne, Paul, Jason, Lesley, Esther and Jan from Paekākāriki.
The tent looked great with heaps of produce from our gardeners (pictured), a recycled tyre compost bin, ecocleaners, a reusable bike and thanks to Lesley for her cool poster on how the EcoDesign Advisor helped warm up a renovated room in her home. There was also a cool pallet compost bin made by local builder John Wraight – thanks John!
There were plenty of visitors to talk to and we still had time to play the ukelele, drink silverbeet smoothies and check out these cool microgreen caterpillars made by kids who visited the tent. Thanks to the irrepressible Diane Turner for materials and instructions.
Having mapped the emergency resources in our neighbourhood as part of get Ready Week 2014, my neighbours Heather and John thought it was high time they had some water stored around their property, just in case. The Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office (WREMO) are selling 200 litre rain barrels through the Council office for $105, so Heather bought one for John’s birthday, and a few months later during the long January dry, I gave John a hand to install it.