Free garden boxes to tackle poverty in Māngere

By Talisa Kupenga

Papatuanuku Kōkiri Mārae and My Backyard Garden Project are taking the Reduce Reuse Recycle philosophy to new heights, building 100 recycled gardens free of charge for Māngere families in need.

Building garden boxes to tackle poverty and help some of Auckland's most vulnerable families.

Rereata Makiha from Paptuanuku Kōkiri Marae says, "We're talking about those families struggling financially who are poor and in dire straits. We want to teach them to harvest and forage for themselves."

Project founder Brent Mags says seeing hungry families kick started the programme. The first lot of recycled gardens were built in West Auckland last year.

"What was interesting about doing gardens out there is you would motivate families to come give you a hand, but as things were growing there would be more people sitting on the fence or driving past seeing what you were growing and more often than not they would get to the harvest before the families would do."

Registered whānau will receive their garden box come the rollout early September. The same day it arrives, recipients will participate in a one-day workshop learning to compost, grow from seed and fully utilise their new plot.

Brent says, "I see food parcels arriving to these people. We give them vegetables so if you look at things on a grand scale, being able to share knowledge and skills through a project like this benefits many."

Rereata says, "One hundred gardens for Māngere, then the project will be expanded to other South Auckland communities including Manurewa and Papakura."

To register for a garden or to volunteer, contact the marae or reach out through the My Backyard Garden Project Facebook page.