Mon 16 Apr 18.
A special $10,000 per annum Council fund set up to help Taumarunui community groups look after walking tracks in local reserves is now helping local schools get involved while providing unique learning opportunities for the kids taking part.
Taumarunui-Ohura Ward Committee (TOWC) Chairperson Karen Ngatai said that the walkways in our local reserves have historically been built and maintained by community groups with Council providing for some maintenance on the tracks once they have been established.
The impetus for the establishment of the $10,000 fund was an address to the Ward Committee by long time Te Peka Reserve supporter Stuart Shaw on the work of the Te Peka Landcare Trust,” said Mrs Ngatai.
“Following Stuart’s presentation the Ward Committee discussed how we could do more to support community groups to undertake this type of work and also provide an opportunity for other groups including schools to get involved.
The Ward Committee then approached several community groups and got an overwhelmingly positive response to the idea of them helping with the maintenance of local reserve tracks.
The fund is now helping to boost the work of the Te Peka Landcare Trust on the Te Peka Reserve walkway which is being supported by students from the Taumarunui High School (THS) who will also be undertaking projects in the Rangaroa Reserve.
It will also be helping the newly re-established Taumarunui Lions to maintain the Sunshine Reserve walkway and Manunui School to look after Sawmillers Track at Manunui Reserve.”
Mrs Ngatai said that it was especially exciting to Council that the $10,000 fund was helping to involve our youth and younger people in looking after these public spaces.
“In both cases the students work on the walkways was being used as part of a hands-on learning experience while helping them feel more connected and involved with their community,” she said.
THS Trade Academy Director Allison Annand said that the fund was helping to provide a great opportunity for the young people to give something back and feel more connected with their community.
“So far THS students have been helping with weeding and replanting at the Te Peka Reserve and next term we will be doing some work in the Rangaroa Reserve.
Some of the students involved with building, farming and horticulture studies were not only gaining practical experience but also earning NCEA credits,” she said.
Manunui School Teacher Kelly-Anne Powers said that her pupils were really enjoying doing projects on the Manunui Reserve walkway.
“We started off by having the kids simply enjoying the walkway and taking notice of potential improvements which has led them to imagine not only how we can improve the space but what kind of adventures they could create along the way.
It is providing a great opportunity for our children to make a real connection to their environment while making a worthwhile contribution to their community which is the most meaningful kind of learning.”
Mrs Ngatai added that the involvement of these groups and schools means that the local community have access to beautiful local bush tracks that are maintained to much higher standard than Council could ever afford to pay for with our own limited resources.
“This is a good example of the type of partnership Council would like to enter into with community groups, schools and iwi more often.
If there are any organisations who would like to take on caring for a reserve track or other recreational area please get in touch with your local Council office,” said Mrs Ngatai.