Newsletter June 2021

Working bees/planting days are every fine Saturday; meet at 9.30 am at the Cannons Creek
entrance to Belmont Regional Park. The nursery group meets every Thursday from 10 am to noon, in the grounds of Aotea College in Okowai Road.


June 2021 newsletter: Come to the AGM

• The date: Monday 12 July 2021
• The place: Tawa Uniting Church, Elena Place, Tawa
• The time: 7.30 pm
Welcome to our 21 st AGM
All are welcome to attend the 21 st Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Maara Roa. As
in previous years, the meeting will be held at the Tawa Uniting Church in Elena Place (off the
Main Road) in Tawa. Also as usual, supper will be served at the end of the meeting.
Being good ancestors: Intergenerational partnerships for ecological restoration is the
intriguing title for this year’s guest speaker, Dave Sutherland. Dave, a science teacher at
Porirua College is also Cross Community Lead for Porirua East Kahui Ako. He will talk about
the various ways care for the environment and sustainable futures are being encouraged
both at the College and at Brandon Intermediate School.

Subscriptions now due

Annual subscriptions are now due and can be paid at the AGM – where our treasurer Keith
Nicoll will give you an instant receipt – or directly to our Westpac Bank Porirua account
which is 03 0547 0381329 00. Subscriptions are still $20 per person or $30 a couple. Please
give your surname as a reference for payments made by direct debit.

Planting season ready

Thanks to Jeremy from Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC), two trailer loads of plants have been delivered to the “Golden Hectare” to the west of Porirua College for the
planting season, due to start (weather permitting) on Saturday 19 June. The plants, seen here ready to be placed for pickup, have all been raised at our Aotea College nursery, apart from a few specialist varieties sourced from the Forest and Bird nursery at Disley Street. 900 plants will be placed at the Golden Hectare or as infill for previously planted sites.

Planning the park of the future

Some complex planning decisions are being made for the future of the western side of
Belmont Regional Park, GWRC Principal Ranger Wayne Boness told the FMR Committee at
its meeting on 8 June. As predicted, the grazing licence for the land currently being farmed
has been extended, to 31 March 2022, after which the land will be available for a variety of
recreational uses including new and restored tracks and possibly facilities like toilets.
Funding has been allocated for large scale restoration planting but before any development
can happen there are environmental standards and master landscaping plan requirements
to meet. Fire prevention is another important consideration for a site where vehicle access
to some parts can be tricky.

Meeting the new MP

The Friends of Maara Roa have a new champion in Barbara Edmonds, elected as MP for
Mana last year. Chairman Sef Truyens, Secretary Janet Tyson and committee member
Brenda Johnston met with Barbara and her local support officer Kristen Brosnahan in their
recently opened offices at 12 Hagley Street Porirua. Barbara congratulated the group on 21
years of achievements which she said should be more widely known by local people.

Young people a huge environmental resource……but old hands also needed

Students from all local colleges are a huge resource for the environment, Mana MP Barbara
Edmonds said. Many of them are “fiercely” committed to protecting it for the future.
In recent years students from both Porirua and Aotea Colleges have been active at Maara
Roa. Dave Sutherland has brought groups to the “Golden Hectare”, the newest planting site,
which is just over the fence from Porirua College. Tricia Warren from Aotea College has
used planting at Maara Roa to complete NCEA horticulture qualifications.
FMR chairman Sef Truyens hoped this potential could be used for the benefit of new areas
to be opened in the park. For sites like Maara Roa, there are limited opportunities for large
scale planting activities. “At this stage we just need a few more active older people to help
with maintenance and tree care.” As numbers diminish and members get older, FMR sees
its role more as advisers and guides for groups visiting the area, such as Outward Bound.

Outward Bound in Maara Roa

Outward Bound, best known for its outdoor activities based in the Marlborough Sounds, has
been expanding its activities to work with secondary school students in the Lower North
Island, earlier this year with Tawa College. In May Rob Dunn from Outward Bound organised
students from Porirua College to spend a very productive afternoon “liberating” some of
last year’s plantings by clearing weeds and lifting sleeves and wires.