One thing I love about my role on the Waitematā Local Board is being part of making small, local projects happen. We often hear complaints that local government is slow, unresponsive and wasteful but in my experience I have found Council staff to be passionate, creative and willing to work hard to deliver on a tight budget. With political support they find ways to achieve, as Board Chair Shale Chambers likes to say, the Art of the Possible.
So it has been a special pleasure to see Hauora Garden spring up at Studio One, Toi Tū. In early June I was at Studio One for Bee Jam, part of the POP programme of events (funded by the Waitematā Local Board). Lynda, Parks Team Leader was there for a visit and mentioned that there was still unallocated budget available for community gardening. Knowing that there was a fenced off overgrown section of
Studio One that had been recently been identified as perfect for a garden I introduced her to Tracey the POP programme coordinator to find out if there was an opportunity for an artist’s POP project. Fortunately Tracey knew of a garden project ready to go (it was proposed for POP originally but did not get included in the pilot series), Shale approved the budget and everyone swung into action.
Last Saturday we were able to check out how the site has been transformed into Hauroa Garden. We always need to be careful about not ending up with unallocated budget at the end of the financial year(another criticism of council!). However I think in this case it has been a happy find that has brought about a spontaneous, creative collaboration involving artists, sponsors and volunteers that will provide long term benefits.
Hauora Garden by Auckland-based artists Richard Orjis and A.D. Schierning is an interactive and sensory space that aims to reconnect urban dwellers with the natural world. It will end up including Rongoā Māori, introduced medicinal, edible and endangered native plants. Many of the materials found on the section have been recycled into the garden design.
Many thanks to Lynda and Tracey for the Art of the Possible and all those involved: House of Botanica, Colleen Brennan, Michelle de Clay, Kerrie Van Heerden, Claudia Jowitt, Daddy and the Dames, Donna Kerridge, Richard Orjis, Wednesday Night Pottery, Amiria Puia-Taylor, AD Schierning, Bec Stanley, Bonni Tamati, Imogen Taylor, The Little Caterer, H.E.P.T, CVNZ Volunteers, The Watkins, Char Wiapo and Generation Zero.
Supported by Treescape, Resene, Studio Art Supplies, Mace Contractors Ltd and Uru Whakaaro Ltd
Hauora Gardens reviewed by Janet McAllister for the Weekend Herald Art matters column