Volunteers at Te Hiku Hauora Maara Kai community garden in Kaitaia have harvested a great crop of kumara.

George King was especially happy, as he had been involved from the beginning, helping to set up the tipu bed, preparing the soil and planting the tipu, watering and weeding, and finally taking great delight in digging the kumara.

"He proudly took a bag home for the whanau," Nancy Gregory said.

"The gardens came back under the care of the Far North Environment Centre in March last year," she added.


"We work alongside Ruby Anne Reihana, Korikori a Hauora Kaimahi at Te Hiku Hauora, and the volunteers pictured have been involved regularly since then. Others have joined us from time to time, and all are rewarded with freshly-picked vegetables to take home.

Excess is also given to Te Hiku Hauora to be shared with patients, and to a local foodbank."

Volunteers had the opportunity to learn gardening skills through being actively involved in building healthy soil, raising and planting out seedlings, weeding, mulching, watering, and finally harvesting.

"We have constructed several compost bins, and made compost using a variety of materials," Nancy said. "A worm farm has been set up in an old bath, and has just received a lid made from recycled wood by new volunteer David Darker."

Several well-attended workshops had been organised on composting, worm farming, riwai and kumara growing and seed-saving.

¦ Anyone who would like volunteer can contact co-ordinator Cheryl Toka on (027) 430-5840, Nancy Gregory (09) 408-1266 or (021) 0237-8117.