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Hibiscusmatters 15 December 2010 | 7

Play it Forward goal in sight

Despite Ministry of Eduction funding cuts, the future of the local programme Play it Forward, which assists troubled primary school children to get back on track, looks secure, thanks to community support. The programme, which uses basketball a North Shore company who are as a focus, looked likely to fold in assisting in establishing a website for August, but following a story in the project. It is hoped that www. Hibiscus Matters, local individuals and playitforward.co.nz will go live in time businesses, as well as the NZ Breakers, for Christmas. stepped in to assist. Hannah Heffernan of flyingduck.co.nz The programme, which has been in Wellington is currently developing running on the Coast for 10 years, a logo to be used on t-shirts and other works with around 20 children from promotional material. up to eight schools per year. Along with Rachael says recent meetings with the basketball coaching, it teaches anger Foundation for Youth Development, management and how to nip bullying NZ Breakers and Auckland Council in the bud, as well as providing the have provided important contacts, participants with opportunities to mentors and guidance. share experiences. The scheme uses pupils as positive role models and The NZ Breakers committed to has proved its worth in changing the sending a community coach every behaviour of bullies, their victims and week to put the boys through coaching skills and drills. children with anger issues. Since the story in Hibiscus Matters “It is truly inspirational to see how (August 18) Rachael Meese of well the boys work and perform under Stanmore Bay, a student majoring this coaching,” Rachael says. in Community Development, has Programme instigator, local teacher taken on the role of Development Adrienne McKenty, says the Play it Coordinator – promoting the project, Forward team are working hard to establishing networks in youth ensure the project remains in the hearts development, local government and and minds of the local community for business sectors. many years to come. She is also consolidating the “It has already changed the lives of organisation, policies and procedures many young people,” Adrienne says. of the programme, with the long-term “We hope to encourage other schools goal of extending it to more schools. to become partners in the project. Ant Carter from Cardinal Solutions Continued community support in Arkles Bay is providing business for this project will see us working support and advice and put the team wonders in other schools by this time in contact with Datum Connect – next year.”

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War and peace A few weeks ago, rather than a partridge in a pear tree, my Christmas looked likely to feature a kaka in a rewarewa tree. A battle royal was waged for ownership of the mature silver dollar gums in the park near our house. These large trees are populated by tuis, which also visit gardens in the neighbourhood in search of food. The kaka that have been spotted in Manly in recent months launched a takeover, and for several days flew across the park, early in the morning screeching and dive bombing the trees in hopes of chasing off the resident tuis. Kaka also visited the garden several times, and I was lucky enough to see four fly past the bedroom window – almost close enough to touch – as well as watching them feed in my puriri and rewarewa trees. My well-thumbed copy of Andrew Crowe’s Which NZ Bird reveals that I was privileged indeed: on a scale where ‘100’ are common birds like sparrows and those labelled ‘0’ are only found in a sanctuary, the book estimates the chances of seeing kaka at nine. The likelihood of seeing tui is 40. Perhaps it was a numbers game in the park as well, for despite the relative size of the kaka, and their determination, the tui won possession of the trees. I occasionally hear the distinctive whistle of the kaka elsewhere in Manly, and they are probably still desperately seeking a home base. They nest in old hollow trees, and they’ll need extraordinary luck to find those in Whangaparaoa – such trees are often deemed “dangerous” or “unsightly” and are removed from gardens, as well as public places. Of course the battle between the kaka and tui is only one of many that take place every day in the garden – the cat stalking anything that moves, vegies vs snails, weeds vs garden fork, and, my favourite, ladybirds vs aphids. Ladybirds are like diminutive tanks, mowing down everything in their path. They consume aphids – many of which are almost as large as they are – at a prodigious rate – as many as 800 per adult during a 40-day life span. My roses benefit hugely from that particular fight. Most of these battles need only minimal interference from gardeners. Therefore, jump into the hammock or deck chair, enjoy some relaxation in your garden and have a peaceful Christmas.

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Hibiscus Matters December 15  

Local Newspaper

Hibiscus Matters December 15  

Local Newspaper

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