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A new pā harakeke garden planted by tamariki and rangatahi at Dingwall Trust helps with knowledge growth and sense of belonging.

This project helps connect children and young people with Aotearoa’s natural and cultural heritage. It is part of a focus on planting more NZ natives for the Dingwall Programmes team.

Firstly, Programme Leaders gave a special karakia to bless and honour the pā harakeke. Then tamariki from all Dingwall cottages took turns at bedding in the harakeke plants.

Tamariki and rangatahi also learned about the importance of harakeke to Māori and how they used and revered it.

During planning, the group decided to plant smaller species of flax to avoid blocking the sight lines of drivers at Dingwall.

Programmes Team Lead Miranda Palmer loved seeing everyone enthusiastically involved in the planting. She saw the growth in their connection with cultural tradition.

Miranda says: “I’m impressed with everyone’s knowledge around harakeke and look forward harvesting and weaving it in the future.”

Once the harakeke is grown enough, tamariki will learn the traditions around harvesting the outer leaves. This includes preparing them and weaving them into useful or decorative items.

In the meantime, young people will nurture and care for the plants so they grow to maturity, including regular watering in this hot weather!

So, the project helps fulfill one of Dingwall Trust’s key outcome pillars – growth. The Programmes Team uses these kinds of fun and engaging activities, to improve and widen tamariki and rangatahi knowledge of culture and tradition.

Hands-on experience with planting natives empowers young people to take up other opportunities in both gardening and cultural activities.

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