Did you know that Māngere is the suburb with the least number of trees in the whole of Auckland? This is really bad for our health and wellbeing, especially as the climate warms, and the sun beats down on our houses and streets. It hasn’t always been this way. Māngere used to be a thriving wetland, cloaked in pūriri forest, and teeming with life. Later, it was a patchwork of flourishing gardens- the food bowl of Tāmaki Makaurau.
We still have patches of ngahere and flourishing maara kai around our neighbourhoods, but with all the housing intensification happening at the moment, families are losing their backyards, so we need to get creative about where we plant. ME Family Services is excited to be working with Kāinga Ora and Uru Whakaaro on the Māngere Ngahere project, which aims to see more trees and gardens planted in our area. We’ve been developing a community vision for the project and working with Mana Whenua to establish some guiding principles.
This Winter will see Māngere schools getting involved in a Tiny Forest project, which supports them to plant small areas of native trees on their land. And a planting project at Ashgrove Reserve in Māngere central will give park neighbours an opportunity to help develop a fruit tree orchard and mini-ngahere in their neighbourhood. From tiny seeds, big forests grow, and we hope that future generations will be able to enjoy the shade, food, medicine, wildlife and beauty that these trees and gardens will bring.