The Bay of Plenty Steamers will be rolling up their sleeves, pulling on their gumboots, picking up a spade and digging in for the Western Heights community on Thursday.

Alongside the Western Heights Community Association, Rotorua Lakes Council and local youth, the squad will be helping with the new maara kai (community garden) at Turners Drive Reserve.

About 20 feijoa trees will be replanted at the newly established maara kai as part of the joint Kai Roto Reinvigoration project.

Bay of Plenty Rugby Union media and marketing manager Amanda Thompson said it was a great opportunity to align the values of the union with those of the council.

"It is always great to be able to give back to the community. The community is a great supporter of our team and this provides us the opportunity to support them. It is awesome that the maara kai is a sustainable project that will benefit the community not just this year but for years to come."

Rotorua District councillor and sport and recreation portfolio lead Charles Sturt said he fully supported the initiative.

"It's great to see our regional teams like the Bay of Plenty Steamers giving back and working alongside their fans in Rotorua.

"It's important to continue to create these outstanding places to play that are safe and nurturing for our communities. This is a fantastic community-driven initiative."

As well as establishing exercise areas, sports field markings and a half basketball court, the neighbourhood reinvigoration project includes a sustainability aspect where the community can share in a maara kai and fruit trees.


Council's sustainability portfolio lead and councillor Tania Tapsell is keen to see this type of collaborative work continues throughout the district.

"Working alongside different organisations, I know that having access to enough safe and nutritious food for a healthy and active lifestyle is a major priority for the community.

"It's also one of the objectives in the district's Sustainable Living Strategy and it's really awesome seeing the goals come to fruition."

Schools from the Western Heights area have been invited to join the Steamers to help reinvigorate Turners Drive Reserve.

The rugby union will be providing a free sausage sizzle and the opportunity for kids to engage with the players following the feijoa tree planting.

Kai Roto Reinvigoration – Community Activation
Time: 11am to 12pm
Location: Turners Drive Reserve

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