Grant boosting medicinal garden knowledge

Publish Date : 20 Nov 2017
Planting for knowledge, health and our environment1

Planting day at Alfriston College with (left) Leighton Simmons (bioversity advisor, Auckland Council), Mary Mason (Learning Leader, Technology and Environmental Garden, Alfriston College, in pink), Manurewa Local Board chairperson Angela Dalton (right) and students.

A grant from Manurewa Local Board is helping Alfriston College students develop a Māori medicinal garden and wetlands area.

Gaining new skills

For the teenagers it's a chance to learn more about traditional herbs but also gain new skills and techniques they can use beyond the school gate. 

“These two projects integrate with curriculum subjects such as science, maths, tikanga Māori, food technology, biotech health and PE, and offer students new learning opportunities,” says Mary Mason, Learning Leader, Technology and Environmental Garden at the school.

“Māori students make up 50 per cent of our role and there’s a real need for them to understand historical medicine, to see how others are developing innovative products, and to how plants are being used not just in foods but also for health,” she says. 

“They can then develop their own creative products using our unique New Zealand flora and learn about setting up their own entrepreneurial businesses.”

A native ecosystem

At a lake located within school grounds, the group clears weeds, such as gorse, before introducing new plants to help stabilise the lake edge and create a native ecosystem. 

There will be plants like the raupo that can used to make tukutuku panels for the wharenui.

“We wanted to create a native species wetland and were lucky enough to get advice from council biodiversity advisor Leighton Simmons who also came in to help students devise their planting plan,” says Mary. 

Manurewa Local Board chair Angela Dalton says the projects are great examples of how it can support community-led initiatives that not only protect our environment and biodiversity, but also build knowledge and give young people new skills.

“We are committed to working with mana whenua, and looking to the footsteps of those who went before is just one way we can make this happen. 

“Developing our community spaces in partnership with mana whenua as kaitiaki/guardians means we can help protect our biodiversity for the future,” she says.

The school also has vegetable gardens, orchards and are currently working on recycling all food waste to try to be truly sustainable.

Watch this story by TVNZ's Te Karere on the school's efforts.

About community grants

Community grants are one way local boards help to build strong communities by funding initiatives that have a positive impact on Aucklanders.

The grants support a wide range of initiatives in arts and culture, community development, environmental and natural heritage, events, and sports and recreation.

Application for the next round of Manurewa Local Board grants open in February 2018.  

More information on local board grants is available on the Auckland Council.


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