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Friday, 14 February 2020

2020 Working Bee dates - please diarise

Working Bee

Working Bees are held on the second Sunday of a month - with occasional exceptions.  

They start at 10 am and finish around noon followed by a shared lunch. 

At the Working Bees, communal produce is distributed to participants.

The Working Bees count towards your 2 hours of community hours per month.  

If you are unable to come to a working bee, please let Trevor and Bev or Sarah know.  Then tasks can be arranged for you to fulfill your community hours at another time.

Working bee dates for 2020

9 February
8 March
19 April NB this is the 3rd Sunday of the month, as 12 April is Easter Sunday
10 May
14 June
12 July
9 August
13 September
11 October
8 November
13 December

There are sometimes additional working bees during the year, especially when there are many tasks to be done.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Where is the loo (wharepaku)?

Since Unitec sold the land that the Sanctuary Mahi Whenua is part of, the loos (toilets) or in Maori - Wharepaku, that we used to access are no longer available. The new loos are in building 150, and here's how to find them!

Head out of the Sanctuary, cross the road and head up the hill, diagonally towards your right.

It's a beautiful walk up the slope, under the trees - Jacaranda, Magnolia, etc. Alternatively, follow the road.

This beautiful Building 048, is part of the Unitec School of Architecture. Walk along the front (or around the back of it if you prefer) and keep heading towards your right. You'll come to a line of pre-fab classrooms.

The pre-fab classrooms form a spine that runs down the gentle slope. 
Head uphill - towards the left in this photo.

Where the rows of pre-fabs join together, you'll see the sign for the 'Multi-Faith Chaplaincy Centre - Building 159.

To your left, there is a covered walkway...

Head down it...

Keep going... 

You'll see the number 150 on the wall.

Just beyond are the loos - both men's and women's.

Now that's a relief.

Happy New Year 2020 - Our first working Bee Sunday 19th January

Our first working bee day for 2020 was bright, clear and sunny. The list of tasks needing to be done was ready for everyone to choose from... 

Watering featured prominently on the list. So far this month there has only been 6 mm of rain, and the evapotranspiration rate has been 3 to 5 mm per day, meaning a water deficit of around 50 to 80 mm.

We had received a load of sea-grass that needed to be washed and then put out onto the gardens as mulch. Janet and Bill were washers and barrow loaders...

Along with Mort.

Bev was busy organising the working bee day - even taking calls too. 
Multi-tasker extraordinaire and part of our invaluable 'brains trust' - along with Sarah and Trevor

If you've ever wondered where all the seedlings come from for the working bee plantings - they're planned, planted and propagated by our fabulous 'brains-trust' in the greenhouse.

John processed the privet tree that was had been cut down by former plot holder Richard Main, on the South-eastern boundary of the gardens.

Jenny Gibbs spreads some of the sea-grass mulch onto the young 
fennel plants in the beautiful Rainbow garden.

Angela (in her smart new sunhat) spreads compost.

A busy day with many hands making light (and enjoyable) work.

Rebekah - doing more sea-grass mulching

Fiona weeding out the dreaded Oxalis

Jenni weeding and digging...

with Anne and


Sarah and Bev working in the Rainbow garden.

Kathryn ready to begin weeding.

David turns over the compost in our recently recommissioned Eastern bins.

And Kerry gave a hand too...

Sinead with her whanau - her brother Paul in the background and her-sister-in-law Becca (hiding from the sun in her hoodie)  - who came along to help at today's working bee. Thank you! (Jenni watering with her back to us).

Sinead and Becca hard at work.

The Marigolds that are being grown again for the Sandringham flower mandala again this year, are well established and growing nicely.

The Dahlias are in full bloom in the gardens.

Look at this beauty!

Meanwhile, in the mara kumara garden - our traditional Maori Kumara garden - Keni is at work.

Below is a te mara atahu. 
This demonstrates a South Island agricultural technique used by Maori. The rocks are piled above the ground and also extend (by the same amount and to a similar depth) into and below the ground. This provides 'passive heating' of the earth nearby.

As the rocks give off their heat, they create a blanket of warm air, about as high as Keni is indicating. This is enough to protect the leaves of the Kumara from the cold night-time temperatures. Maori technology used 'thermal mass' to create a warm growing environment for the kumara.

Below is a Parara. This is a seedbed where the kumara seed stock would traditionally have been stored, as seen at Ihaumatao. This is another colder climate technique used by Maori. The rocks again provide 'passive heating' and there is enough aeration in the pile to avoid spores growing and affecting the stored seed stock. On the wooden lattice, within the rock pile, thick layers of dried ferns would be laid onto which the tubers would be stored. The ferns allow for side airflow through the layers and also provide insulation. 

Below the two Kumara planting beds are evident. The established beds are near where Keni is standing and in front of these are the new beds, that will stay in the ground until Matariki.

The Hue (gourds) are also growing well with plenty of flowers and fruit setting.

Respect is shown to the growing Kumara by the pathways within the Mara Kumara garden being maintained. This stops people from stepping OVER the growing Kumara beds - the respected mounds. The mounds are treated as living beings - as a mauri.

Katya and Angela head off to harvest flax to strengthen the fences of the 
Mara Kumara garden

Trevor, back from a successful morning selling our Sanctuary Mahi Whenua organic produce at the Grey Lynn farmers market. This raises funds that help to keep our community garden financially stable.

Trevor sorted out the produce that was available for workers attending today's working bee at the gardens. Two types of plums, some beetroot, and a few Liseta potatoes.

Happy New Year to all Sanctuary Mahi Whenua members and thanks to everyone who made it along to contribute their community hours today. Apologies to those who came early (to avoid the heat of the day) and who weren't photographed on the day - it's so hard to get good Paparazzi!
Happy gardening in 2020.