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.”