Rotorua Boys' High School students and community members got their hands dirty this week as they harvested thousands of kumara.

The harvesting took place on Tuesday morning at Te Puea Orchard.

Te Rangikaheke Kiripatea, volunteer facilitator for Kai Rotorua, says 2200 plants of 14 kumara variety were planted on November 1 by 33 Rotorua Boys' High School students.

Thirty of those students were back this week to harvest the kumara.

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"It's fantastic to have them here. I think we've got to continue to look at ways to engage Rotorua Boys' High School."

He says Kai Rotorua is looking to set up a partnership with the school so students can continue in the journey of the kumara and Food Hub with them.

Te Rangikaheke says this kind of partnership is important to the kumara becoming an integral part again for Te Arawa and Rotorua.

"Because of the history of the kumara with our rohe... building this relationship is vital to our future with sustainable kai.

"It is all around sustainability and making our own kai."

Kai Rotorua committee member Jasmin Jackson says it was great to see the students come along and see through the whole process of the kumara harvest.

"Doing it from start to finish shows them they can do it themselves."

She says the students can then take that knowledge away and share it with their whanau.

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"Growing food, I think, is one of the most important skills."

She says it allows you to provide for yourself which is empowering.

"It's great to see us bring back old knowledge."

Kai Rotorua began about two years ago as the local food network, born out of the collective passion of the Rotorua community to see a better food system - one where everyone has access to nourishing food and food that is produced in a way that is gentle on the environment and animals.