Free fruit in playground idea being put to city council
WHEN Strathmore children go to one of their favourite parks they could pick a free feed in the future.
The planting of fruit trees in the Taiaroa St play area is being promoted by the Pacific Advisory Group of Wellington City Council.
Fetu-ole-moana Tamapeau, the advisory group’s Samoan representative, says the fruit trees will be a source of healthy snacks for Strathmore kids, many of whose families struggle to access healthy options.
“There’s been a kerfuffle [politically] around removing GST on fruit and veg,” says Ms Tamapeau, who, at 26, is the youngest member of the advisory group.
“Why should we argue about our kids needing healthy food? We, as a society, seem to have a fear of free food. It’s ridiculous.”
She says Strathmore children “use the park to death”, and many of them are Pacific Islanders.
“There are families in Strathmore who have less money than they should to live a healthy lifestyle,” says Ms Tamapeau, who played basketball in the park as a youngster.
“It’s all about increasing physical and emotional health and rejuvenating areas where kids go all the time.”
Ms Tamapeau and the advisory group will soon discuss the idea with the Council, and consult with Strathmore community groups.
She says the trees will help beautify an otherwise bleak landscape.
“The playground will look like it’s living and breathing. It will fit in with Wellington being a clean, green city.”
“There are disparities between playgrounds in Wellington. Playgrounds shouldn’t be just for show,” she says.
“I’m concerned we will forget about the suburbs.”
Council officer Myfanwy Edeny says the council has funded similar community orchard projects in Wellington through its grants scheme.
She says during the upgrade of the Taiaroa St play area, the council recommended planting the fruit trees as part of the community garden on the Housing New Zealand land adjacent to the park.
“Regarding that community garden, funding was granted to the Strathmore Community Base for this project in March but it is temporarily on hold,” says Ms Edeny, who is acting community engagement and reserves manager
“If the Housing New Zealand concept doesn’t work out, then we are happy to discuss the proposal [planting the trees in the park] with the Pacific Advisory Group.”
Ms Edeny says that groups usually get between $500 and $6000 for community orchards.
Ms Edeny says a number of parks in the eastern suburbs have been upgraded, including seven play grounds within the Miramar Peninsula, and the reserve between Kekerenga and Tukanae Streets in Strathmore.
Councillor Leonie Gill says the addition of the fruit trees will complement the work that has been done to upgrade the play area.
“Everyone can benefit from the trees,” says Councillor Gill, Eastern Ward Councillor and Pacific Advisory Group
“[They will provide] added shelter for the users, food for those surrounding the park and amenity value for the neighbourhood.”