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Central Kids Ngātea Kindergarten has enjoyed a weekly visit to Speedy's Reserve for the past 12 years. Photo: SUPPLIED

New life for ngahere

For the past 12 years, Central Kids Ngātea Kindergarten has enjoyed a weekly excursion to Speedy’s Reserve, on the outskirts of the township.
The programme is designed to allow the kids to connect with nature, go on insect and fungus hunts, to build huts, climb trees, jump in muddy puddles, bird watch, and create games.
Teacher Terri Bjerring said the curriculum aligned nicely with the Toimata Enviroschools kaupapa for which the kindergarten was a part of and had earned its bronze level in.
One of the guiding principles was whanaungatanga – interconnectedness of all living things, she said, therefore it was a natural step to intervene when the kindy noticed a rapid decline in the health of native trees, as well as a sudden increase of pest plants taking over the ngahere (forest).
“Restoring ecosystems for future generations to enjoy is an important part of Enviroschools and our Central Kids philosophy,” Terri said. “With support from Hauraki District Council’s parks and reserves manager Paul Matthews, the Speedy’s Reserve whānau, and kindergarten whānau, we set about to ‘give back’ to the ngahere.”
The kindergarten successfully received $750 in funding from the Central Kids Kindergarten Tree Fund, and $1000 from the Thames Seagull Centre Local Community Grants, and on September 24, its vision of rejuvenation came to life with the planting of 200 native trees.
“It was such a lovely morning with whānau enjoying the time together busily clearing areas of weeds and planting trees for future enjoyment,” Terri said.