Matariki planting: turning the red zone green

Singer Tiki Taane will be among the celebrity guests joining community volunteers to take the first steps in greening the red zone in Christchurch this Saturday – 28th June 2014.

Four hundred native plants donated by the Department of Conservation, a school community garden and a grove of fruit trees will be planted out in the Anzac Drive Reserve (Chimera Crescent, which is off Atlantis Road near to the roundabout on Travis Rd and Anzac Ave).

Local band, Medway Roots, will be entertaining the gardeners with an acoustic set of reggae magic, and a BBQ with hot drinks will keep everyone warm and well nourished.

Students at the local bilingual unit (Freeville School) have designed and built the raised beds for the community garden and will be planting and tending the vegetables in anticipation of a bumper harvest.

Mahinga Kai Exemplar Project
The planting day launches the Mahinga Kai Exemplar project, which was initiated by Canterbury rūnanga almost two years ago in collaboration with the Avon-Ōtākaro Network.

“This marks the start of the restoration of natural habitat within the Ōtākaro / Avon River red zone,” says Evan Smith, co-chair of the Avon-Ōtākaro Network which has been campaigning  to turn the red zone into an ecological reserve and multi-purpose river park.

Te Marino Lenihan (Earthquake Recovery Program Manager, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu) says: “Our goal is to restore the ecology of this area so that it supports a healthy and harvestable environment. This is a great place to begin as it’s a important whitebait spawning area. If we build it back for whitebait, the people will come too. If we only build it for people, the whitebait won’t come.”

The day begins at 10.30am with a blessing from James Robinson.
Bring gumboots and warm clothing and take care with the roads (there are pot holes under the puddles).
Kids and families welcome. The event will proceed rain or shine.