Kai Garden Competition 2022 winners

Congratulations to our Kai Garden Competition 2022 winners

Alexandra Primary School, Alexandra
Garden project: Food Forest

“The keen natural interest amongst our ākonga in gardening is a key driver for expanding our vegetable garden into a Food Forest rather than just relocating the current set up. We run two Garden Club sessions a week where we do all sorts from planting, harvesting, cooking, seed collection, composting, propagating and caring for our environment. Kaitiakitanga/guardianship of our environment is a core value of our school. Garden Club is a real passion for many of our ākonga and the most common question we get asked at school must be ‘is it garden club today?’

“Our Food Forest will be a rich dynamic environment with a multitude of learning opportunities. Our Garden Clubs are inclusive of tamariki with special needs and learning challenges and provide another way to learn outside of the classroom. By expanding from a small vegetable garden to a much larger and more diverse Food Forest we will amplify our learning environment for generations to come.

“We think creating a Food Forest is very relevant for the times we are living through with climate change and economic pressures making food insecurity more commonplace. Our vision is to create a garden using Food Forest permaculture principles to produce a bounty of fresh fruit and vegetables to inspire, connect and share with our community.”

– Danielle Dunn, Garden Glub Coordinator

Bizzy Bodz Early Learning Centre, Huntly
Garden project: Kakano Ki Te Tepu – Seed to Table

“BizzyBodz are going to help tamariki experience and express culture by creating a sense of empathy and inclusivity around the foods they eat at home. The idea is to create social ties and build a greater feeling of community.

“We would like to support the health and wellbeing of our centre’s community while also reducing our impact on the environment. Providing the opportunity for our tamariki to learn about where their food comes from, caring for our gardens and harvesting kai will encourage our tamariki to enjoy healthy food choices. The garden itself will provide an outdoor classroom for hands-on learning.

“Our garden design centres around our curriculum and plants would be arranged in the garden to support and encourage cultural learning in an inclusive space. As a learning centre our long-term goal is to move towards sustainable practices; we are improving our reduce, reuse and recycling systems, choosing resources made of natural materials as much as possible and educating our tamariki on how we care for our environment. This is deeply connected to our philosophy of manaakitanga not only for people but for the world around us. Growing our own kai supports our whānau wellbeing, especially as the cost of living is steadily increasing and putting more pressure and stress on families in our area. The children will be harvesting and preparing the food ready to cook/eat. Health and nutrition will be discussed during these sessions and the children will be developing fine motor skills, patience, confidence, hand-eye coordination, responsibility and crossing the midline, as well as getting some moderate physical exercise and learning life skills.”

– Gina Prendergast, Head Teacher

Central Kids Whaihanga Early Learning Centre, Hamilton
Garden project: Feeding our Community

“We currently have a small garden area in which we grow kai to feed our community, our tamariki at the centre and their whānau, which we wish to extend and enhance.

“Manaakitanga and tiakina a Papatūānuku – protecting their environment – are very important values within our centre. Through this kai garden, we will be able to feed our whānau, and grow our children’s knowledge in sustainable gardening.

“We want to introduce heritage seeds through this kai project, and garden following the Maramataka. This kai garden will provide a space to grow our tamariki and whānau knowledge and participation. The harakeke plant will provide harakeke which can be used for weaving and other uses at the centre. The sensory garden with seats for reflection will provide a quiet aromatic area for tamariki to enjoy. Gardening at Central Kids Whaihanga is an integral part of our curriculum and programme for sustainability and it incorporates science, cooking, mathematics, literacy.”

– Jelena Kidd, Teacher

Kaitao Intermediate, Rotorua
Garden project: Heart and soul

“We already have a pre-established school garden but unfortunately due to the location of it, students are only allowed to be in it under supervision. Because of this it is not used often and is not integrated into daily school life. A huge driving passion of our concept is that the garden becomes a part of normality. Students see, use and are a part of the living garden. They are able to identify when plants need tending too and when work needs to be done to maintain our environment and take pride in its appearance. They are able to reap the rewards of fruiting trees and vegetables and share them within our Kura and our community.

“We are wanting to establish an outdoor classroom setting where teachers can come over and use the space and it will be big enough for a few classrooms to be there at once allowing for spontaneous use. The Food Technology teacher will use the garden to gather ingredients to use in her cooking, the ECO Tech teacher will use the area for photography, The Hard Materials teacher will use the space to encourage students to design furniture/planter boxes etc. All other classroom teachers can openly use the space for learning and recreation.”

– Regan Connor, Hard Materials Teacher

Kerikeri Kindergarten, Kerikeri
Garden project: Kaitiaki o Kerikeri Kindergarten

“Our kai garden is one that we wish to support our existing curriculum and programme, which centres heavily on the tamariki as active agents and contributing kaitiaki/guardians of their learning space. We are proud to run a healthy kai programme, where tamariki cook alongside kaiako, healthy nutritious food to be shared at morning tea or lunch. We also cook with the tamariki once a week over an outdoor fire pit. We would love for our garden to produce as much of this kai as possible, making this valuable programme as self-sustaining as it can be.

“We also have a pataka-kai – a give and take pantry for our whānau – we would love to produce healthy vegetables and fruit in abundance, enough to be able to share more than we currently do with our families.”

– Kim Hall, Teacher

Matipo Primary School, Auckland
Garden project: Matipo Matau Māra

“The whole Te Puawaitanga O Wairua senior class undertook a project in teams to design their own rongoā garden for our school. They researched the traditional plants used, the conditions they needed to grow and their uses. They selected an appropriate site and measured it and created a design for their garden. They considered use of materials, ongoing maintenance, incorporation into other aspects of school and environmental elements. We then put all the designs together and chose our favourite parts of them all to come up with Room 13’s Matipo Matau Māra.

“Features of our garden will be:

  • Located next to the school’s art suite as it’s our turangawaewae
  • shaped like a Māori – a fish hook or matau
  • different areas for different things – it’s a rongoā garden but we put the harakeke and the kiekie in its own area and then it can be used for mahi toi
  • putting layers of plants so they look after each other
  • seats for people to hang out in the garden and relax
  • include some old (traditional) plants
  • cool paths with stepping.”

 – Hollie Colegate, Garden to Table Specialist Teacher

Moanataiari School, Thames
Garden project: Māra hauroa

“Our rongoā garden will be in the shape of a koru. A spiral shape to symbolise new life, growth, strength, and peace. This shape will make it accessible for students, staff and our community to wander through, touch, taste and smell the plants and to simply sit within the garden and reap the rewards of a beautiful outdoor space.

“Our garden will provide everyday learning opportunities. It will tie in with our School Charter, particularly in regards to promoting a healthy living and lifestyle for our students and improving the health and well-being conditions of staff at school.

“Our students are encouraged and taught to look after our school grounds and those around them. We follow the philosophy of Sir David Attenborough – ‘If we take care of nature, nature will take care of us’.

“We have many sustainability and garden projects within our school and our Māra hauroa would fit nicely with our initiatives and goals. We pride ourselves on our sustainability initiatives initiatives such as rainwater collecting, irrigation system, solar panels and battery, recycling, composting, LED lighting, and our different gardens.”

– Julie White, Office & Project Administrator

Tawhiti School, Hāwera
Garden project: The Tawhiti School Kai Corner

“We have been given a large unused area (23mx17m) on our school grounds to work our Kai garden into. Our dream is to have a dedicated area full of delicious fruit trees, bountiful vegetable gardens, worm farming, composting, wild flowers, medicinal plants, food for bees and birds, a picnic area and class learning area. Maybe even one day bees and chickens! But all dreams must have a beginning and we have a great plan for ours. Our tamariki have created amazing designs of what this space could look like when completed.

“Our goals for our garden are:

  • Having the tamariki involved in the growing process of plants right from the beginning stage of seed gathering/saving, making the soil for it to grow in, planting and germinating seeds, then on to caring for the plants as they grow and harvesting the fruit/vegetables and composting them back to feed the next generation.
  • To be able to feed our community and make valuable connections along the way.
  • For Tamariki to learn where their food comes from and how to eat healthy.
  • For Tamariki to learn to care for our environment and To teach our tamariki about how to live in a more sustainable way
  • To learn how to gather skills from our community as well as share our skills with them.”

 – Anna Dawson, Parent/relief teacher

Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngāti Kahungunu ki Heretaunga, Hastings
Garden project: Te Huanui o te Atua

“Our school is focussing on Maara Kai (Matariki) and its been a very long time since our school last used a garden or even had a Maara Kai. For our up and coming project we are wanting to create a Maara Kai that aligns with the Marama (Moon phases) and provides good knowledge, goodwill, for our future generations. Teaching the students the traditional way of Maara kai.

“In our kai garden we would plant kūmara, kamokamo, pumpkin, onions, spring onions, herbs, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, capsicum, tomatoes,

“We have created a unit for Maara Kai, and follow the moon phases, with the coming of the māori new year Matariki and celebration.”

– Panache Huata-Ropitini, Teacher

West End School, Palmerston North
Garden project: He Koha Aroha “A place made with love”

“Our proposed garden will be a multi-use space and facilitate the integration of several current needs of West End School.

“The design focuses on a koru shaped path that reflects the school crest and provides four benches for seating. stepping stones will link the centre of the koru back to the existing path.

“The garden will be filled with native rongoā and non-native medicinal plants, edible flowers and scented plants, and also provide a safe, calm, and tranquil area for tamariki who need space away from the classroom. West End School has a special needs unit embedded in it and the garden will provide a healing/calming space which will benefit these students. The garden will be a refuge to promote hauora (wellbeing) on many levels, through scent, sound, colour and texture as well as the healing properties of the plants themselves.

“Four benches will be included into the garden, which represent the four dimensions of hauora: taha tinana (physical well-being – health), taha hinengaro (mental and emotional well-being – self-confidence), taha whānau (social well-being – self-esteem) and taha wairua (spiritual well-being – personal beliefs. These benches will also represent the Four Winds.

“The benches will enable the garden to be used as a meeting place for people to wait for formal pōwhiri into the school grounds, through the waharoa that will be constructed over the existing path (this is a separate project that is being funded by the school). It is intended that any koha given at this time will be in the form of a plant to add to the garden. This is a garden that will continue to grow.”

– Louise Ellis, Teacher