Wednesday November 8, 2017
Growing future gardeners Working in
partnership for Wainuiomata
Sun Valley Kindergarten children busy in the garden. PHOTO: Supplied
Little thumbs have been turning green as the children at Sun Valley Kindergarten discover the wonders of gardening. Monarch butterflies, sunflowers, and delicious fruit and veggies straight from the garden – all part of the everyday learning experience. Sun Valley Kindergarten is tucked away in a quiet sunny location in Wainuiomata; the ideal environment for blossoming gardens. Teacher Mandy Bartosh says the children enjoy learning about the natural cycle, from planting and
nurturing, through to harvesting and eating. “Everyone gets involved at harvest time. The children love digging for potatoes and trying peas straight from the pod” Mandy says. “Once our veggies have been harvested, we cook them and enjoy a shared meal. We recently made a stir fry which was a big hit.” Crowd favourites at the kindergarten are pumpkin fritters and silverbeet, herb and cheese scones. The interest in gardening has rubbed off on the parents too. Many of whom have been inspired
to plant their own vegetable and flower gardens at home with their children. It is not just vegetables growing in the kindergarten garden. There is also a secret fairy garden with wildflowers and soon to be pumpkin patch. A project that has seen the children involved in preparing the soil, planting and watering the garden. Sun Valley Kindergarten is part of Hutt City Kindergartens, a not-for-profit dedicated to making quality early childhood education accessible to all.
The Koha Shed is working in partnership with Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust to provide support to local families who are struggling. The Wainuiomata initiative started with a mission to help the community. It quickly grew and moved to the old Wainuiomata College site, which is now owned by Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust. Recently, Kara Puketapu-Dentice, a Wainuiomata local, jumped at the chance to support such a worthy cause. “Jo and her team are real champions, selfless to the core and that’s shown by their commitment to supporting all our whanau here in Wainuiomata,” Kara says. The Koha Shed has become quite well known in Wainuiomata, providing people with everything from blankets, clothes and children’s toys to white ware and pet food without judgement. It is open three days a week from 11am – 2pm. “There are several initiatives here such as boxing, Little Theatre, Kohanga, motorbike club, playcentre, parent
groups, Children’s toy library and others. It’s become a real community hub that everyone can have a sense of ownership of, which is exactly what we want,” Kara says. “We are keen to develop a strong partnership between our iwi, Te Atiawa-Taranaki Whanui and the Government to make a local difference and it’s great to have [local list MP] Ginny Anderson’s support.” Kara says the community has a proud history of taking care of each other. “All we have to do is work together and then you will see the true strength of our community.” Labour List MP for Hutt South Ginny Andersen backs this approach. “I am excited about the opportunities this new Labour-led Government brings for Wainuiomata. “My background in Treaty Negotiations taught me how important it is to build strong relationships based on trust.” I want to see iwi, Government and the wider community working collectively to make a real difference,” Ginny says.
Wainuiomata News 08-11-17