Marae Opens Community Garden
3 October 2016

A Rotorua marae has officially opened its maara kai (garden) to the community, inviting locals to come and grow their own food.

Apumoana Marae co-ordinator Hedi Symon said they had been working on the garden since April. "It was Bernard Hornfleck's idea, he has had a long association with the marae and he got on board to help with the garden."

Marae committee member Eraia Kiel said the opening last week was "really good".
"We have re-established our marae garden, it's open not just for the marae, but for the community. "It's more than just growing fruit and veges. Self-sustainability is really important to us, it's about growing people as well." He said it was about getting people back in touch with Mother Earth and teaching the younger generation from the marae about their cultural identity through living off the land. "We have also always had a strong relationship with Lynmore Primary School as well and we want them to be part of the garden. We have always been a very active marae and this is just another way of reaching out to the community."

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said she thought it was a fantastic idea. "It's big! They have a huge bed for kumara. It's a great initiative. I think the whole concept of community gardens and the learning of plants is great. "This is a practical example of what we can do and it's great for the community," she said.

If you are interested in helping out in the garden check out the Apumoana Marae Facebook page for details.

- Rotorua Daily Post