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Tū Roa Kohanga Reo was the lucky recipient recently of a Bunnings working bee that revitalised the centre’s gardens. Twenty-four Bunnings workers from stores throughout the lower North Island pitched in for the day as part of the company’s commitment to community service. They brought seedlings, fruit trees, compost – and even a new gate for the kohanga’s Te Rauparaha Street entrance. New raised gardens were built, seedlings planted, potting trays installed in the shadehouse, and gates and fences fixed.  Bunnings activity organiser Megan Maxted says the company helps out with dozens of projects every year, but the one in Ōtaki was “one of the bigger ones”.

HANDIWORK: Bunnings workers (red shirts) show off their handiwork at Tū Roa Kohanga Reo. Tū Roa staff with their tamariki are from left, Brittany Manawaiti (black shirt), Nani Oriwa Law with Karena Pierce-Bidel, Tāua Marianna Williams-Wilson with Nirada Vickers and Isiah Flame, and (kneeling) Fern Thompson with Francis Leason.

Photo Ian Carson

Tū Roa tāua Marianna Williams-Wilson says she’s delighted to have the help to revitalise the māra (garden).

“Our kaupapa is to provide healthy kai for our tamariki,” Marianna says. “They go out to the māra and eat everything fresh from the plant. They learn about the taste, but also what the kai feels like and smells like.” 

The garden area is managed by volunteers Letitia Simons and Shelly Leason.

The working bee was the result of an approach to Bunnings by Britanny Manawaiti, after she became a regular visitor to the kohanga during study at Te Wānanga o Raukawa.

Tū Roa has about 20 tamariki on its roll. It operates in the historic Native College building. Nani Ngamiro Ropata was instrumental in its establishment in 1987.

Bunnings crew step up for Tū Roa Kohanga Reo



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