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Hundreds of student-inspired trees going in

Planning Kimi Ora Community School’s new outdoor learning space has led to an unexpected community project for the school’s senior students.


Last month the students presented their ideas on how their new playground could help learning, be fun, and look great to Hastings District councillors.


Working in pairs, they had come up with designs based on different elements for the outdoor area, including water, planting and imaginative play materials.


Maikara-Rawi Nicholson and Pippa Giddens, both 12, talked councillors through their thoughts on how plants would enhance the playground, and which ones they would choose.

They so impressed Council’s parks team, that they were asked to help with a planting plan for Flaxmere Park’s playground.


The girls’ presentation inspired the choice of the 475 native plants, including cabbage trees, kowhai, rewarewa, totara, toe toe, corokia, kawakawa and harakeke. All of the school’s senior students will help plant them within the playground area this Thursday, May 30.


Kimi Ora Community School is redesigning its outdoor area as part of a full school re-build. Physical building work, funded by the Ministry of Education, is due to start in August. The Ministry does not fund outdoor work, so the school is designing and fundraising for that part of the project.


Planting would be a big part of the new outdoor area, the two girls said. Pippa said it was important that there were native plants in a nice calming seating area, while Maikara-Rawi hoped flower beds would be in the mix. Growing kawakawa was one of their top priorities, as it can be used for making ointments and tea.


A new vegetable garden was a given, with a spot already set aside for it.

The pair were looking forward to being part of the school group which would help plant the Flaxmere Park playground.


Council’s parks planning and development manager Rachel Stuart said the students’ enthusiasm for their school’s outdoor area and plants at the Council meeting was “impressive”.


“Especially the way they confidently explained their ideas which came from their values and their culture.

It was perfect timing because we were midway through planning for the upgrade of Flaxmere Park. I didn’t hesitate to involve them in the planning for the plantings.”


And Maikara-Rawi and Pippa’s was not the only presentation to inspire. Eleven-year-olds Maleta Pailate and Janet Vaiusu ‘loose parts’ presentation on an imaginative play area for the school ground, made up of a collection of objects that junior students could build with, had seen Council staff include a ‘free play’ area within Flaxmere Park.


Rather than being designed, it would be created on the day of the planting by the children and the parks team.


Released on behalf of Kimi Ora Community School and the Flaxmere Planning Committee by Joyce Communications



For more information contact Diane Joyce: 021 612270.

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