Mazda foundation



2011 Makeovers

We had four schools who won a Treemendous School Makeover in 2011.

  • Spotswood Primary School St (New Plymouth)  - completed in March
  • Westshore Primary School (Napier) - completed in April
  • Rapaura School (Blenheim) - completed in May 
  • Epuni Shcool (Lower Hutt) - completed in June

Spotswood School – first cab off the rank 

Spotswood Primary in New Plymouth was the first of the 2011 winners to get a native garden makeover – and with it achieve the vision for the outdoor area of their school.  The steady rain did nothing to keep the volunteers from turning out to help, transforming a steep bank covered in weeds and a shaded area into a peaceful native haven.

School Principal Allan Day said “The Treemendous makeover was one of the most amazing community days I have ever been a part of, with so many people helping on the day we managed to finish up much earlier than planned so we were all able to sit around and enjoy a lovely community lunch together.”

Since the makeover many members of the community have used the new area for a picnic location.

“The native garden was completed on Saturday, and by Sunday local families had chosen this spot to share fish and chips” Day said.

“The community took real ownership of the project and I have no doubt this area will be treasured by all - I think it is just wonderful that the community want to use the space”.


Westshore shows its outdoor skills

In early April, a Napier primary school – Westshore – prepared for a native garden makeover turning a large area at the back of the school into an outdoor paradise.

Westshore Primary, although small in size, proved to be big on community support, with Napier’s deputy mayor Kathy Furlong and local MP Chris Tremaine mucking in as well. 

“The feeling today is just amazing, with everyone in the community doing their bit to help” said teacher Sue Averill.

“We didn’t have many trees on our school grounds, so our plan was to plant lots of fruit trees and natives so we could start to really enjoy our new surroundings.”   

Catching up with Sue a few weeks on from the Makeover she was still buzzing from the Treemendous experience.

“Everything is growing nicely. The biggest hit would have to be the edible garden area, the children gather around it every morning wondering when it might be time to eat.” 

“Since our Treemendous makeover there has been several offers to help with the next steps.  We are all really enthused now to continue improving our outdoor areas.  We now recognise what the school community can do with a bit of a vision and some hard work.”


Rapaura School gets busy 

On May 21 the Makeover team met in Blenheim at Rapaura School to turn the ‘out of bounds wasteland’ into a wildlife paradise.

Overgrown with weeds and suffering from neglect, the area behind a set of classrooms underwent a much needed clear-out with the intention of creating a positive learning environment that would attract birds and insects.  

Rapaura School Principal Helen Williams was thrilled with the results.  “The entire process was just fabulous, amazing - not only for the students of Rapaura School but for the entire community particularly the Project K students who were brought in to help on the day”, Williams said.

“Teaching children about their natural environment and the life that exists within it is incredibly important. Since the makeover we now have the opportunity to encourage our students to take care of our natural surroundings.” 

According to Williams the students have taken responsibility for the new outdoor area putting forward many ideas for ongoing care.

A group of Year 2 students have suggested bird feeders to encourage the birds to stick around during the colder winter months.  And Year 5 student, Charlie Taylor races across the dewy field every morning to check if the weta motel has any visitors!


Epuni School- last but by no means least

Lower Hutt was the final stop for the Treemendous Team, where a visit to Epuni School completed the Treemendous school makeovers for 2011.

The Epuni makeover dream included the introduction of a permanent path across the field connecting the school with the local kindergarten.  An outdoor classroom was added and the entire path edge was planted with a variety of native plants.

This labour-intensive vision required many weeks of preparation and a lot of community support to get the job done. Principal Bunnie Willing was overwhelmed by the amount of assistance they had from the community, particularly the local Rotary Club. 

“The Rotary Club of Hutt Valley provided a team to coordinate the project. They worked tirelessly on our behalf and we are so grateful for their support” Willing said. 

“We had a great turn out from the local community on the day, everyone wanted to lend a hand – I’m just so incredibly humbled by the entire experience.” 

“The pathway will make a huge difference.  Many local people have to make the journey between the school and kindergarten daily and during the winter months – it can be very unpleasant” 

“The community will also benefit as the path provides a more direct route to the local shops” 

This makeover was perfect timing for her school.  “The month of June is ‘Matariki’ Maori New Year - traditionally a time to celebrate, looking back on what has been and what is to come in the future - it is also a good time to instruct young people about the land.” 

“The children have been learning about Matariki in the classroom this month and they now can relate this directly to what is underway in the school yard.” Says Willing