A vandalism attack won't deter an Onerahi community group from setting up a garden to provide fruit and veges for the suburb.

The group is turning a 700sqm piece of council-owned land in Whimp Ave into the Waiariki Food Forest, with plantings of fruit and nut trees and a wide range of vegetables. But at the weekend somebody destroyed some of the trees and plants - including slashing banana trees, snapping and digging some trees up and taking them away - undoing a lot of the hard work.

Waiariki Food Forest volunteer Wendy Giffin said the destruction was saddening, especially as the group was trying to do something positive for the community.

She said more than 100 people had taken part in planting efforts at the site, which also had the backing of Whangarei District Council. Plenty of children had taken part, which also gave them a good understanding of the advantage of having a good garden. "I don't think it was kids (who destroyed the plants). They used a spade and made sure some of the plants could not be saved and I don't think kids would be carrying a spade around," she said.

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"We're just trying to help out the community and provide free, healthy food, so I'm gutted that this has happened, but it won't stop us."

Another group member, Paul Doherty, said: "This will look spectacular (once the plants are fully grown) and it's about food security - we want to be the supermarket for this community to come to."

Group member Buck Cullen said the garden was about a community coming together to look after each other.

"That's what communities used to be all about and that's what this is about - sharing is caring," Mr Cullen said.

Since news of the vandalism broke, other community members had already turned up with replacement trees and plants, but more were always welcome.