Did you know that Rotorua has over 20 community gardens? And a brand new one has just been established in Ngongotaha!
“It’s almost becoming a movement here in Rotorua,” says volunteer coordinator Te Rangikaheke Kiripatea.
The new garden was built at the home of Ngongotaha resident Moyrangi (who asked that only her first name be used).
“It’s a miracle,” says Moyrangi, who was introduced by chance to Te Rangikaheke at the Food & Social Enterprise showcase event held by Healthy Families Rotorua at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology in October.
“I went to the polytechnic to inquire about a forestry course and saw a friend talking so thought I’d listen for a while. After hearing what all of the speakers were doing for their different communities, I told Te Rangikaheke that I wanted to make natural medicines. He and his friend Bernie then came around to my home and organised everything.”
The garden was made over one weekend using recycled and donated materials by a team of volunteers including Te Rangikaheke, co-coordinator Bernie Hornfeck, and Brent Mags from the My Backyard Garden Project.
Moyrangi says she likes the idea of communities connecting with each other through positive activities such as gardening.
“Everyone contributes what they can to make a difference. Four families have already come to help water and take care of the gardens, including five children,” she says.
“The children enjoy it so much. I feel very blessed. Lots of people also want to come and cook healthy meals together.”
Moyrangi says plants are medicine for people as well as the earth.
“Beetroot, the skin of lemons, and kumara leaves can help with healing cancer. The roots of the kumara are also very nutritious. I want to grow beans and tomatoes as well. Plants are also so important for bringing good energy to our environment,” she says.