The Koutu community did their bit for the environment yesterday while sprucing up their local youth space at Karenga Park.

It was the annual Arbour Day, and more than 70 trees were planted in the park which also has a skateboard and scooter facility, basketball court and a family barbecue area.

Following consultation with the community, species chosen for the planting event included native, ornamental, feijoa, citrus, plum and nut trees.

Koutu community leader and Te Koutu Marae trustee Tiffany Te Moni said Arbor Day was a good opportunity for people to do something for the environment.


"I had three generations of my family planting a tree together, which shows how much our community cares about this space and wants to make it the best it can be for the generations to come."

Ms Te Moni said she was "stoked" with the turnout, especially seeing the schools came down to take part in the event.

"Less than 10 years ago this park was just a swamp land and look at it now. It is a space that the people of Koutu can be really proud of and you can see by the turnout [yesterday], how much the community wants to be a part of it."

Te Kura O Koutu Year 8 student Urukahinga Rei, 12, said it was important to get out and support the community they lived in.

"I definitely have Koutu pride and it's good to see the community and other schools help improve this shared space."

Urukahinga said planting fruit trees would be invaluable to the children who utilise the park. "Some kids go home hungry so these trees will give them easy access to fresh fruit."

Councillor Janet Wepa, portfolio lead of the council's sustainable living strategy, said the Arbor Day planting supported the Rotorua 2030 goal to build a resilient community and outstanding places to play. "Trees are about investing in a sustainable future," she said.