Let’s come together: ‘It makes this place feel alive’

Lets come together at Puawai Cadness Reserve
Lets come together at Puawai Cadness Reserve

Just like the greenway that binds their neighbourhood, the people of Northcote are growing strong roots into a community that supports its own success.

More than 300 people connected for celebration at Let’s come together in Puāwai Cadness Reserve last month, with live music and kai from local eateries, free games and activities, ecology workshops and to sign up to help with planting along Te Ara Awataha.

Those ongoing planting efforts are helping the greenway build its strength, and mean native plants throughout Te Ara Awataha will one day be able to thrive on their own. Now, the same can be said of the Northcote community itself as it takes the lead in an event previously hosted by Eke Panuku, Northcote Development and Kāinga Ora.

“Last year we held a community event to showcase our new greenway, and we found Te Ara Awataha had fostered a really strong sense of community spirit and engagement,” says Claire Hansell, Kāinga Ora Programme Manager – Placemaking.

“This year we hoped to encourage the same connection, but the Northcote community was ready to take this event and run with it while we provided support.”

Organised by community groups, visitors enjoyed music, art and entertainment from local performers and artists. Kaipātiki Project held a working bee along Ngutu Kōtare School’s Edge, alongside an art show from Northcote Intermediate. Youthtown, YMCA Raise Up, Shore Junction and the Kaipātiki Community Facilities Trust all provided games and activities.

Free sausages were sizzling throughout the day, and attendees washed them down with Otai, a Tongan fruit drink prepared by community members.

Along with Eke Panuku, Northcote Development and Kāinga Ora, Hato Hone St John, Te Puna Hauora and the Ministry of Social Development hosted stalls to provide information on support services available in the community.

“We’ll have an ongoing role in supporting this great place for years to come,” says Claire.

“But as we get closer to the completion of Northcote Development, it’s really great to see the community take the lead and grow their confidence in organising events like this.”

Throughout the day, locals regularly asked how they could take part in the event next year.

“It’s always good to see the community getting excited about Te Ara Awataha,” Claire says.

“It makes this place feel alive.”