Group of people learning about gardening at Auckland City Mission

Wednesday 16 November 2022

Planting time at HomeGround

This morning saw a hive of activity on the rooftop at HomeGround as residents joined a working bee to plant kūmara and taro.

The rooftop, known as Matatihi, is the site of the Mission’s first māra kai/ community garden, as well as being a beautiful spot to relax and take in the views across Tāmaki Makaurau.

HomeGround tenants and staff can often be found tending to the garden beds and towers, and to the composting.

With Maramataka, the Māori lunar calendar, indicating that today would be favourable for planting, tenants worked in the hot house to plant kūmara and taro.

Workshop leaders Richard and Hari from Gardens 4 Health showed us how to bend the kūmara seedling root into a circle before planting as this maximises the capacity for growth. Hari also showed us the traditional Tongan method of planting in just one or two moves using one hand to guide the seedling into position facing (east to west – but we didn’t exactly follow this because of the positioning of our beds!)?

Afterwards we shared delicious kai – a roast vegetable salad – made up of kūmara – to align with the focus of the day, pumpkin, chickpeas – to inspire use of an ingredient that isn’t the most popular food parcel item, and beetroot. There was also a choice of two pesto created from produce grown on Matatihi: Italian parsley, thyme, oregano, and kale. This was prepared by Debbie, the amazing kitchen manager at Haeata.

Residents shared how inspired they were by the planting sessions and by Debbie’s food preparation. They love to be able to pop upstairs from their apartments to pick fresh kai for dinner.