About 100 members of the Hawke's Bay community came together to plant 1300 native trees at the Argyll East Treemendous School Makeover last Saturday.

The Treemendous School Makeover programme is a joint initiative between the Mazda Foundation and Project Crimson that sees four schools selected each year to receive a $10,000 makeover, and create an outdoor educational space through the planting of native trees.

Students, teachers, staff from Mazda New Zealand, Bay Mazda Hastings, Mazda Foundation, and the Project Crimson team all pitched in to complete the makeover.

Ruud "The Bugman" Kleinpaste shared his knowledge of native insects, including this vagrant spider. Photo / Nicki Harper

The school restored the banks of the Mangoatai Stream with the planting of more native trees.


Pathways were constructed to lead to an eeling pontoon and weta hotels that will encourage more insects to the garden.

A display area to showcase the children's art work, predator traps and picnic tables were also included in the transformation.

Argyll East School principal Julie Thelwall said the school and local community had worked tirelessly over the past few months to improve their outdoor area, and the Treemendous School Makeover was the icing on the cake.

"We couldn't be more proud of our new outdoor educational space and the ongoing support from our local community, families and students who came together on Saturday to make it happen.

"Developing the banks of the Mangoatai Stream has provided us with a great educational resource, giving students the ability to immerse themselves in nature during class time and developing their sense of pride and protection of the Mangaotai Stream - a worthy environmental project for current students and future generations," she said.

Project Crimson trustee Ruud "The Bugman" Kleinpaste spoke to the children about New Zealand's native bugs and the importance of looking after our natural environment.

Central Hawke's Bay mayor Peter Butler also attended the makeover in support of his grandchildren, both students at Argyll East School.

"The makeover on Saturday was a great success. It's heart-warming to see all the passion for the environment, not only in the school's pupils, but the community as a whole. Top job Argyll East," he said.

Mazda Foundation chairman Andrew Clearwater said it was great to work with schools like Argyll East who were committed to providing their students with the best outdoor education possible.

"Environmental education is becoming recognised as an important part of the curriculum in schools all around New Zealand, and the Mazda Foundation is proud be part of this through the Treemendous School Makeover programme."

Applications for the 2017 Treemendous Makeovers are now open, for more information head to

- www.treemendous.org.nz.