Supporting Porirua School Gardens

17 January 2018

Recently our managers visited a number of school gardens in Porirua that Commonsense is proud to support.  The lovely Alicia Rich showed us fruit and vege plantings across Cannons Creek that she helps coordinate as part of the Porirua School Gardens Scheme, an organisation established to support and guide local initiatives.

First we visited Glenview School where the powerhouse deputy principal Lester Mohi told us about the amazing efforts they make to give their kids the best start in life.  Here they take an holistic approach to education, interweaving the building of academic skills with life skills and activities that can help engage the students more than 9am-3pm classroom schedules.  

Lester (centre, beige coat) takes us on a tour of their vege plots

As in all the schools we work with, their gardening program includes the children seed raising, planting fruits, veges and trees, maintenance of the plots, and of course eating!  Engaging the kids in the creation of healthy food makes it easier to introduce it to their diets, and helps them get excited about sharing gardening and dietary knowledge with their families.  

Glenview's main vege plot is full of complimentary plantings and surrounded by young fruit trees.

The school has also worked for years re-establishing native bush in the area to support the natural environment.

Lester points out native bush they've planted around the grounds which bring birds back to the area and support the valley land.


Next we visited Russel School, where planting boxes that border the play areas were coming to life with the spring rain and sun (we experienced plenty of both on our visit!)  

Strawberries, lavender, kale and more are springing to life!

We were delighted to see colourful bird boxes on the fences above the gardens: 



...And we even found a stray buttercup to test the old theory: hold a buttercup under someone's chin, and if the yellow reflects it means they like butter (or simply that the lighting is good).  Questionable theory, but a cute game!



At our last stop, Corrina School, we saw more wonderful fruit and vege patches, and more great composting systems too.  School scraps are composted where possible and mixed with mulch and friendly worms to feed these school gardens and make use of every resource available.

Alicia (left) talks us through the school's progress and spring/summer goals.

This school also provided the opportunity for some good old-fashioned monkeying around.  Thanks for sharing the playground, kids!

Look at Lydia go!  And Liz behind her is scaling that netting like a pro.

Alicia and the Porirua School Gardens Scheme are always looking for volunteers who can help in the garden.  If you'd like to get your hands dirty please contact Alicia on 0274229861 or  She can also coordinate with the schools if you'd like to gift gardening resources or equipment to the programme.


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