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students of a college sitting in front of a garden
Ōtāhuhu College transformed an unused area on their school grounds into a māra kai (community garden) to benefit the school and wider community.

When Ōtāhuhu College shared their vision for a school māra kai, the Bunnings Team stepped in to help build 65 no-dig garden beds. The community-driven project is a collaboration between students, teachers and parents from Ōtāhuhu College and neighbouring Papatoetoe East School.  

The garden is home to various putiputi (flowers and shrubs), ngāhere (natives), rīwai (spuds), and kūmara. A section of the garden will be devoted to growing different varieties of taro and banana as part of a science project sponsored by science promoter SouthSci. The project’s goal is to determine the best way to grow these tropical crops in Auckland and discover which varieties are the most palatable. Many of the students have a connection to gardening traditions from the Pacific Islands and will be encouraged to share their knowledge and culture through this project.   

The community garden project was the brainchild of Malcolm McAllister, an art teacher at Ōtāhuhu College, who not only wanted to create a resource for the entire community, but a hands-on learning opportunity for students, as well. McAllister reached out to a wide variety of organisations and businesses to contribute their expertise and lend a hand to bring this project to life. Bunnings donated materials, and Team Members were happy to roll up their sleeves and pitch in with the building and advice.

“I was really pleased with the response. We were able to rally enough support to get the garden off the ground,” McAllister said. “Bunnings’ contribution was exceptional and working with the Bunnings team was a joy.”