Once established these trees will provide the public good of seasonal fruit and nuts.
A grant from the Waiheke Local Board has empowered the recently revived Blackpool Residents Association (or BRA) to plant 250 fruit and nut trees on public land on roadsides, out the front of houses, Piritahi Marae and the Pony Club, with a further 50 trees going to Rakino island.
A flurry of interest from residents of our islands narrowest point saw over 100 Blackpuddlians of all ages turn out on a cold July morning to choose their plants and get digging. By 1pm all plants had been distributed and most are in the ground right now!
Once people had taken the trees back to their roadside, they commit to become a "Tree Guardian" and assume responsibility for the upkeep of those trees.
"We'll be mapping the trees, staying in contact with everyone, to give them ongoing advice around pruning, fertilising, mulching, companion planting and especially encouraging people to use local organic resources to look after these trees"
After the grant from the Waiheke Local Board, there will be no ongoing costs to the ratepayer, and there will be huge benefits to the community at large, as people get to know their neighbours, share knowledge about maintaining fruit trees, and build community resilience around food.
Waiheke Local Board Chair Paul Walden is right behind the initiative, and turned up shovel in hand to get digging. He hopes to see similar projects all over the island, and possibly serve as a model for other Auckland communities.
“This is all about empowering communities” says Paul Walden, Chair of the Waiheke Local Board