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Gypsy Roberts, Chris Maddern, Hinemoana Collier, and Lois Waugh are part of the team creating a community garden in Paeroa. Photo: KELLEY TANTAU

Team creates community garden in Paeroa

Paeroa will soon have its own community garden thanks to a committed group of people passionate about providing māra kai to the public.
A site has been secured and dotted lines have been signed, and now it is hoped putting spades to soil is not too far away for Gypsy Roberts, Chris Maddern, Hinemoana Collier and Lois Waugh.
The four women are part of the planning and management team behind the Paeroa Community Garden, which will be located in Leach’s Field, off Neil St.
It’s been a six month hard slog for the group, but as Hinemoana told The Profile: “Short-term sacrifices make for a long-term reward”.
The location of the māra [garden] is on Hauraki District Council land, and in September, elected members officially acknowledged their support of the project, granting the group $1000 to help with the garden’s establishment.
“I knew that vegetables were getting expensive, and there’s a lot of people in this community who can’t grow their own,” committee member Chris Maddern said, “but there’s [a garden] in Ngātea and so I thought: ‘Why can’t we have one here?’”
The intention is to set up the māra in Leach’s Field as a “mothership”, with hopes that sister gardens can be established on other council reserves around town.
The location for the first garden was chosen because it was centrally located and access was easy and flat; the size of the space was suitable; it had a council water supply; and it had clean, fertile soil.
It will provide fruit trees and flowers, raised beds and pathways, as well as opportunities for educational, mental, and physical development.
Gypsy Roberts is a Hauraki Healthy Families systems innovator with Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki. She said as part of Healthy Families’ overarching vision, a community garden supported the prevention of chronic illnesses within the rohe.
“A lot of our other locations have been part of the development of community gardens… and the vision of the Paeroa garden is about supporting the sustainability of whānau and community through the sharing of māra kai.”
The garden will also reduce organic waste through “robust composting techniques”.
The group is still waiting on the finalisation of logistics such as fencing and groundwork, but looking ahead, they are excited to see youth, families, and locals utilising what will one day be a bountiful space.
“We’ve definitely got a long-term vision,” Gypsy said.
“I think in small towns at the moment, unless you’re part of a sports team or connected in some way, it can be isolating. The biggest thing from the garden is feeding our people, but we’re also going to get more social connection as well.”
The garden has been supported by organisations and locals, including Tony Coombe, Scotty’s Tyres, Country Dog Garden Centre, Hauraki Reuse and Recycling Centre, Paeroa Concrete, Goldfields School, Hard Scapes, and Te Korowai.
DETAILS: To keep up to date, find Paeroa Community Gardens on Facebook or email