For the past 18 months Owen Takuira-Ngaropo has worked tirelessly to create something positive for his community.

The Papamoa resident has single-handedly set up a community garden on a plot of land off Hartford Ave.

Mr Takuira-Ngaropo said he knew it was something he needed to do after praying. Since the garden was set up numerous people and community organisations have got involved and are growing their own vegetables.

The community garden attracted the attention of former Papamoa Progressive Association chairman Steve Morris who yesterday brought National MPs Maggie Barry and Tony Ryall to check out the shared space.


The Tauranga City Council allowed Mr Takuira-Ngaropo to use the 0.8ha of land and he has had volunteers helping him build raised beds and irrigation systems.

A kindergarten and church are among the groups who utilise the garden, producing produce to feed families.

Mr Takuira-Ngaropo has also received help from The Lions Club, which provided a shed for tools and the Department of Corrections has allowed those sentenced with periodic detention to help with work.

Mr Takuira-Ngaropo has also given up his own back garden, swapping it for a home-made "hot house" where he propagates seeds.

As he was telling the politicians about the garden his emotion was obvious.

"Hartford Ave is not always known for the best things but this shows the strong community spirit," he said.

"It is about the community doing something for themselves."

Mr Takuira-Ngaropo said there had been no vandalism or produce stolen.


Mrs Barry said the community garden was a fantastic initiative and she laid a challenge for others to help out, financially and physically.

"Tony and myself are going to kick off your fundraising by each donating $50," she said.

"I challenge others to help out and give a hand. A couple hours of donated time could really help. "

Mr Takuira-Ngaropo said he would appreciate any help he could get.

The team wanted to build a "smoko room" for those who used and worked in the garden and Mr Takuira-Ngaropo said he would also like to raise money to buy a van so he could drive to the beach to collect seaweed, which would help provide nutrients for the soil.

Anyone who can help out should contact Mr Takuira-Ngaropo on (07) 572 1175 or Allan Bell on (07) 575 8922.