Zane Cooper, one of Northcote Intermediate’s Specialist Team Leaders, is in charge of a fantastic project working with Kaipātiki Project on the restoration of Jessie Tonar Scout Reserve. The reserve is at the end of Kākā Street – it’s the source of the Awataha Stream (Te Ara Awataha) and has deep significance to local Mana Whenua.
The Northcote community, including Northcote Intermediate students, have been volunteering their time and labour – weeding, planting natives and monitoring water quality as part of the regeneration of the stream, and now there’s a new initiative about to launch. Shortly before the national COVID-19 lockdown, we caught up with Zane about the new work in progress.
Taking part in regeneration
“We’ll be working together with Kaipātiki Project to build a nursery that will allow students to plant seeds that are collected locally from the parks to germinate and be raised as seedlings,” he says. “For many of the species this will be a process that will take a few years, so we’re also planning to raise some grasses which students will be able to plant around the local community each year.
“The intention is that the plants will go towards establishing and regenerating the local greenway and community gardens. The plants will be raised here at Northcote Intermediate by the students, not only to educate students in horticulture but to reduce the carbon footprint associated with the storage and movement of plants.
“With the school undergoing a radical rebuild, the ultimate goal would be to create a 21st century environment that is as close to carbon neutral as possible. So we see the nursery as the first step in the journey.”
As Sam Tu'itahi, Community Activator for Kaipātiki Project says, “The flow-on effects from regenerating Te Ara Awataha will be significant, contributing to many ecological and social improvements. The whole community will benefit from these for years to come.”