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Saturday, 23 February 2019 04:31 am

Council plants free fruit trees for Kapiti people

Jul 30th, 2008 | By | Category: News

MAYOR Jenny Rowan and councillor Peter Daniel have planted a damson plum tree outside the Paraparaumu Community Centre, one of 10 that council staff have placed in parks.
“This is achievable, something that a council can do – there’s not a great cost involved,” says Mr Daniel.

“Times are getting tough for people. Going to the supermarket and buying fruit is getting more expensive, and maybe some trees with free fruit would be a good idea.

“My daughter, for instance, would never pick a plum off a tree – she’d go to the supermarket. But times are changing and she may do that one day.”

He decided damson plum trees are the most productive, in terms of the profusion of fruit, and although not the nicest of fruit to eat raw, can be used for jams, preserves, desserts, or even liqueurs.

There was a little bit left in the budget and council was able to order just 10 damson plum trees, he says.

He hopes this is the beginning of something that will be quite big, and the community will get involved, as well.

“Wanganui, a little trust up there, grew 2000 apple trees and gave them away to the people of Wanganui. They were heritage trees. They’ve got to be trees that can stand alone and look after themselves.”

He is also interested in complementing the fruit trees with walnuts, which he says are full of wonderful vitamins and proteins.

He Iti Naa Motai kohanga reo in Otaki made a booklet to thank the council for transplanting to its grounds three apple trees from a local orchard.

Council parks and recreation supervisor Chris Heenan said Nancy and Vern Andrews of Braeview Orchards were removing established fruit trees from their property.

“We got the idea of transplanting them to the local wananga and kohanga reo in Otaki.”

He said it was a trial for the permanent transplanting of trees at Otaki railway, and it worked successfully.

Andrew Rundle-Keswick of the voluntary organisation, Kapiti Transition Towns, supports the plan, and provided Mr Daniel with a contact at the Wanganui nursery that grows the heritage trees.

“We support it wholeheartedly,” he says. “We would be willing to help with organising labour to help dig the holes and plant the next lot of trees.”

He says a transition town is one that is changing itself from fossil fuel dependency to a more sustainable way of life.

Planting fruit and nut trees will be a future source of food, particularly if New Zealand starts getting into trouble with oil supply.

“It’s forward thinking. If we suddenly have a crisis you can’t suddenly develop an orchard. We can’t hold off the planting until we need the fruit.”

PICTURE: Kapiti mayor Jenny Rowan plants a plum tree outside the Paraparaumu Community Centre, helped by council staff member Steven Furner (centre) and councillor Peter Daniel.

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is a Whitireia Journalism student.
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