Caring for the land; Caring for the People - Jan 2006

In the early 1990’s, Sr Makareta Tawaroa moved home to Kaiwhaiki Marae to live a life of service to her whanau.

“I’m Nani-Sister to the children.  I keep open house and plenty of kai. I was with the people at Pakaitori (Moutua Garden) and now my biggest role is to learn how to nurture the awa, the soil, and the birds, the animals and, most importantly, the mokopuna.  I feel this is my greatest vocation.”
Quote from “In Step with Time” Diane Strevens

At the beginning of 2005, with the move back to Whanganui, Sisters Colleen Woodcock and Noelene Landrigan were invited by Makareta to help with turning her back paddock into a garden and orchard to grow kai.

 Makareta wants to propagate heritage fruit trees and seeds which have grown along the banks of the Whanganui since colonial times and get them growing again in the backyards along the river.
Whanganui children are being diagnosed with cancer (including 18-month-old mokopuna, Manaaki,) which causes us to strongly suspect that polluted water, air, soil and food is probably a cause.  Our lives, ultimately, depends on the land and its gifts of earth, air, water and sunlight.  We are alive because we are continuously gifted with what we need to live.  The integrity of our food and drink must be protected.

With the encouragement and support of the Congregational Trust Board the project began with setting down a few goals.  We are not purely and simply keen about gardening at Kaiwhaiki but about our commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi (The Treaty of Waitangi), the honouring of Mana Whenua and the prior relationship of Te Atihaunui a Paparangi with the Whanganui Awa and region. In our vision statement “Fullness of Life for the Earth and its peoples ”the Sisters are expressing a vision for us to re-think our theology by seriously engaging with and listening to Earth and Tangata Whenua.

We sent out an SOS to the Sisters and friends to donate their bits and pieces to be used in building the infrastructure in the garden. Muriel Sefton gave us her demolished wooden fence and the old iron off the Mt St Joseph roof combined with many other bits to make our hen house and run, compost bins and wormery, and garden a reality. Noelene Landrigan 29/1/06

“Open Day” demonstration of building a ‘no dig garden’ and compost bins by Colleen, Noelene and Makareta.

It is possible to grow an abundance of vegetables – Peruperu potatoes,  corn, cucumber, kamokamo, beans and peas, garlic and onion, rhubarb, currants, gooseberries, tomatoes, zucchini, cabbage, lettuce and herbs -  in this  8m x8m patch.   Visiting friends and Sisters admire the growth.

‘The problem is the solution’ permaculture principle inspired the native grove planted into the rich ashes of the old rubbish heap.Makareta takes visitors through.

Gallery / Whakaahua

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