Ups and downs at SOSSI’s Matariki planting

Volunteers are given planting tips on arrival by SOSSI‘s Alison Wesley. SOSSI‘s Winston Pond readies buckets filled for planters. Local marae Te Herenga Waka o Orewa came with shirts to sell – from left, Olivia Coote, Yvonne Goodwin and Amanda McGlashan. BJ Wilson, right, supervised young members of the Paterson family as they got stuck into their first planting. Left, six hundred slices and counting – volunteers, from left, Penny Browne and Julie Land prepare bread to wrap the SOSSI sausages in for the free barbecue.

Planting a hilly section of the Shakespear Open Sanctuary on July 14 had its fair share of ups and downs.

Around 200 volunteers, including many families with young children, turned up in the morning and began putting some of the 6500 native plants in the ground. However, most downed their spades and left after an hour or so due to a very heavy downpour.

Only around a third of the plants went in, so a further planting day was held on July 21 to finish off the job.

The July 14 planting was to have been combined with a number of Matariki elements to celebrate the season – but most of these had to be cancelled because of the weather.

There was, however, a dawn karakia, and representatives of the local marae, Te Herenga Waka o Orewa, taught flax weaving and stick games as well as sharing information about the marae.