Porirua School creates treasured garden space for students

More than 80 people from the Porirua community rallied together to support Porirua School with their Treemendous School Makeover on Saturday 18 May.

The Treemendous School Makeover programme is a joint initiative between the Mazda Foundation and Project Crimson and sees four schools selected each year to receive a $10,000 garden makeover using New Zealand native plants.

Students, teachers, members of the Porirua community, including Mayor Nick Leggett and staff from the local Mazda dealership, Capital City Mazda, transformed a rugged patch of Porirua School’s ground into an educational and interactive garden for students to enjoy. The space had been carefully prepared over the previous weeks by the Project Crimson team and Community Probation teams.

The theme of the makeover was “Nga Taonga o Tane” (the treasures of Tane), who is the guardian spirit of the forest. The transformation featured construction of a pathway through an area of extensive native plantings, along with a lizard lounge and a pond. It is hoped the students will learn about the different types of creatures that will be attracted to the garden.

“The new space will serve as an interactive learning tool for our students. The garden has an array of educational features including a rainbow garden, a butterfly garden and a lizard lounge, which will be a safe area for lizards to sun themselves in full view of students,” says Tali Tiatia, Principal at Porirua School.

“The support we have had from the Porirua community has been overwhelming. I’d like to thank all those who donated supplies and their valuable time to this project, especially Porirua City Council and the Department of Corrections.”

Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett showed his support for the local community by speaking to the volunteers and thanking them for their hard work. Ruud Kleinpaste, ‘The Bugman’ attended, along with his collection of pet wetas and thrilled the students, educating them on all the bugs they can find in their back yard.

"Treemendous School Makeovers have a hugely positive impact on the local community. Not only do they bring community members together, but the students receive an incredible garden which they can enjoy and learn from. It’s fantastic to see schools putting such a strong focus on outdoor learning and the environment,” says Nick Leggett, Mayor of Porirua.

Mazda Foundation trustee, Murray Berkett says, “It is always great to see community members coming together at these Treemendous School Makeovers. The students are very enthusiastic about learning in these fun, interactive spaces and Mazda is proud to be part of it.”

Porirua School is the second makeover of the year, after Halfway Bush School in Dunedin received a beautiful native garden last month. Porirua School’s makeover will be followed by Oakura School, New Plymouth in June, and finishing with Whangamata Area School, Whangamata in July.