Cake Cutting

Thirty years ago a group of Papakura residents decided Kirks Beach needed some love.

Three decades on Friends of Kirks Bush is still going, although new members would be welcome.

Gathered to celebrate the milestone, group co-ordinator Margaret Gane welcomed long-serving and now retired members Muriel Nacey, Terry Beazer and Nadene Bold, recognising their work.

She says time is catching up on members, who are getting older, calling Friends of Kirks Bush a testament to what a small but determined group can do.

“We have contributed to ensuring that Kirks Bush is more user-friendly and safer. We have done that on the smell of an oily rag by using our own tools, energy and time.”

But she says the event was also an opportunity to celebrate new relationships, including with iwi Te Akitai Waiohoua, which received Kirks Bush as part of its Treaty of Waitangi settlement.

“We look to building confident and trustworthy relationships that ensure our goal of protecting Kirks Bush remains paramount for generations to come.”

Papakura Local Board chair Brent Catchpole says the area is indebted to the group.

“We have an incredible stand of native bush on our doorstep in Papakura, and it would not be what it is without the Friends’ endless hard work.”
Friends of Kirks Bush group.

He recalled the group painting yogurt on trees to try and prevent graffiti. “It’s fair to say the group was never shy to try new approaches.”

Board member Felictiy Auva’a has lifelong ties with Kirks Bush, recalling her parents working there with Rotary in the 1960-70s.  

“I started at Papakura South School in 1965 and remember the bushwalks, naming the native trees, collecting leaves and making art drawings and rubbings.

“When I became an Opaheke School foundation pupil we learnt about keeping the undergrowth and seedlings growing. Many of those seedlings planted 50 years ago are now fully grown trees but might not have survived without the Friends.”

Auckland Council conservation advisor for the south Kara Goddard has worked extensively with the Friends and sent a message quoting The Lorax by Dr Seuss – ‘Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better’.

She says she’s proud of the work volunteers have done. “This small but mighty team is amazing. Thirty years is an incredible achievement.”

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