Papakura’s Children’s Forest just got a lot larger.
It’s not so much a result of a baby boom, just more parents becoming aware of Papakura Local Board’s annual tree planting to celebrate the birth of each baby in the area.
Now into its 34th year, almost 60 whānau put a native tree into the ground to mark the birth of their child.
Several of the new mothers gathered at the event put a new rimu, kauri, kōwhai or tōtara in before heading off to see the tree their own parents had planted for them.
Also among those planting was the mother of a stillborn baby, who asked to remain anonymous, but says being able to take part was enormously healing for her, and the kauri she planted would be a permanent memorial, and one that was cherished by her family.
The forest, on Settlement Road in Red Hill, is regularly audited to ensure any damaged or missing trees are replaced and the forest continues to thrive.
Papakura and Manurewa board members attended, and Councillor Daniel Newman even helped with a few holes in the rocky ground.
"I look forward to this each year because it has become something of an institution and it’s wonderful to see the joy the new parents have."
Papakura board chair Brent Catchpole says ‘whānau friendly’ is one of the board’s four community cornerstones.
"Our area celebrates whānau and just as our families want the native trees they plant to flourish, so we as a board want their children to grow and flourish here too."