Randwick Park residents were concerned at a lack of trees so decided to do something about it.

Grass berms are being turned into urban forests in Manurewa’s Randwick Park.

Manurewa-Papakura ward Councillor Angela Dalton says residents have harnessed the support of the Foundation North Trust and Council’s ngāhere team in a plan to plant trees on berms.

Urban Neighbours of Hope member Dave Tims approached Dalton for help around the regulations of planting on berms.

With Manurewa having one of the lowest urban tree coverages in the city, Dalton connected Timms with tree expert David Stejskal to get the project happening.

“Amazing things are happening,” Dalton says. “Council people have had a great time teaching residents how to plant trees and care for them, and neighbours have come together to do something positive for their own and the wider environment.”

Tims is pleased with what’s being achieved. “I’ve stood peering down roads devoid of trees. But people are determined to reclaim their landscape. What price do you put on the softness of the wind whispering through leaves, the sound of tui, of the shade that will cool kids over summer?”

Dalton says no-one can doubt the benefits trees bring to neighbourhoods. “It’s more than just improving the look of our streets, it’s the environmental gains, it’s the birdlife, it’s the sense of pride that’s built.

“Being able to bring together a few people who have turned Dave Timms’ dream into a reality is nothing, the heroes of this story are the residents of Randwick Park, and I salute everyone who has got out and got a little dirt under their fingernails.

“What they have done, and continue to do, will make a change that hopefully lasts long into the future.”

Tims is also keen to salute the people who have got involved. “It has been no small task, considering we needed to buy soil, fertiliser, mulch, stakes and spades and we’ve learned how to plant correctly.

“Council urban forest specialist Rob Delonge spent a lot of time helping us with planning, questions and selecting and teaching us about trees. His knowledge and passion was invaluable and we couldn’t have done this without his personal connection with us. 

“The pay-off will be when we see our neighbourhood transformed into an urban forest, a sanctuary thriving with life and health.”

He says as time goes on more people will be invited to plant a tree. “This isn't just about greening our neighbourhood, it’s about nurturing a sense of community. We want families to be able to say: ‘we planted that’.

“It’s in these shared experiences that a neighbourhood stops being a collection of houses and transforms into a community.”

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