Papamoa's The Rock community garden wins supreme award

The winner of the Tui Gardener of the Year award has been announced and for the winner it hasn't fazed him in any way.

Owen Takuira-Ngaropo of Papamoa won the award for his community garden known as 'The Rock.' 

It's been three years of hard work for Owen Takuira-Ngaropo creating this garden and now he has been named the NZ Gardener of the Year.   
Takuira-Ngaropo (Te Arawa/ Ngapuhi) says, "It's a privilege, an honour, most of all it's nice to be acknowledged by the community for what you've done."

Takuira-Ngaropo wanted to start a garden to help his community, which he says was exposed to gang activity and drugs.  Now over 50 people help in this 8ha piece of land behind Hartford Ave in Papamoa.

"It was an enjoyment at first, but after a while it was another day at the office, as they say you go back to work and continue to do what is natural for you, and gardening is a natural thing for me," he says.

The foods produced at The Rock are given to the local Salvation Army and the Te Puke community kitchen. 

As the 2014 Tui Gardener of the Year, Owen wins a number of prizes which include a $15,000 gift card and a luxury trip to the 2015 Melbourne International Flower and Gardener Show.