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News on this site is now being posted at this link:  http://www.growtogether.org.nz/category/news/

The information below has been retained for archival purposes. 


This news page includes good news stories about gardening successes and other initiatives that people may want to become part of, as well as workshops and training opportunities and initiatives to help foster local food production. The most recent stories are at the top of this page. 


Ed note: For recent news please see this link: http://www.growtogether.org.nz/category/news/



March for Seed Freedom October 12, 2013

A march to assert the human right to save seeds and to draw attention to the corporate grab for power and control over the world’s food supply through patenting seeds, as well as through the adoption of  GE technologies (such as the “terminator gene” which makes plants sterile) will take place in Wellington on October 12.

If you would like to be part of this event, please meet at the Bucket Fountain, Cuba Mall at 2pm for a march to Parliament.

The Facebook page for the event is https://www.facebook.com/events/659016994122615/

Source:  http://www.naturalmedicine.net.nz/news/march-for-seed-freedom-october-12/


Healthy Edible Gardening Course

Highland Park Community House Community Garden

427 Pakuranga Highway behind the Eastgate Community Centre.

For more information 09-534-5584

This garden is currently (June 2013) running a course called “The Healthy Edible Garden” on Mondays from 1 to 2.30 pm each week.  This organic vegetable gardening course will give you the confidence to start your own vegetable patch, even if you’ve never sown a seed before. 427 Pakuranga Highway behind the Eastgate Community Centre. For more information 09-534-5584



Aucklanders: Do you want more community gardens? Do you want Auckland to be  GE Free Zone?   Now is your chance to have your say!

February 22, 2013

Editor’s introduction:  If you live in Auckland and are concerned that Auckland Council (or any of its “Council Controlled Organisations”) are acting in ways that are undermining people’s health (for example: charging excessive prices for water needed for irrigation(see below); charging huge fees to plant a fruit tree on public land; (See below) using glyphosate based herbicides to kill weeds rather than steam or some other less toxic method; fluoridating the public water supplies or are just  not stepping up to support worthwhile initiatives such as community gardens, now is your time to make your voice heard.

Submissions on the Annual Plan are due by 4pm Monday February 25.  Details, including a template submission that you can edit as you like, may be found at this link:  http://www.naturalmedicine.net.nz/environmental-health/aucklanders-now-is-your-chance-to-say-no-to-ge-toxic-sprays-etc/


Auckland Council’s War on Fruit Trees and Home Gardens – And What You Can Do About It (Posted February 2, 2013)

On January 31, 2013 The Western Leader, a paper which covers local events in West Auckland, reported on how Green Bay resident Alison Withers has planted a lemon tree on a grass verge.  This may not seem like a big deal, but in taking this simple step Ms Withers is defying an Auckland Transport edict that states that trees may not be planted on public land without first submitting an application and a $1000 fee – which will not be returned if the application is not accepted.    Auckland Transport may moreover fine a person for $50 for each day that an unauthorised tree remains in  the ground. (Auckland Transport is a “Council Controlled Organisation” (CCO) which is supposedly under the control of Auckland Council.)  http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/north-shore-times/8234675/Lemon-tree-an-act-of-defiance

This is not just a one-off mistake by some bureaucrat having a bad day at the office.  The North Shore Times reported how Diane Celliers who runs Community Fruit Harvest – an organisation that picks unwanted fruit, makes it into jam and preserves and sells it to raise money for charities –  was similarly told she would have to pay $1000 before Auckland Transport would consider her application to plant a lemon tree on the verge outside her home in a quiet cul de sac.


Not to be cowed by this sort of bureaucratic bullying Ms Withers has started a Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/TheLemonTreeRevolutionFeedTheKids to encourage more people to plant fruit  trees.

Another Auckland Council CCO, Watercare, has been criticised by West Auckland gardener Helen Moore whose water bill has increased significantly due to the need to water her garden during the current drought.  Mrs Moore doesn’t object to paying for the water that she uses, but she doesn’t want to pay “waste water” charges for water that is needed to keep the plants in her vegetable garden alive, and never enters the sewerage system.  She investigated installing a separate water meter to measure the water she uses for irrigation but was told that it would cost $1498 for the meter and its installation (excluding the extra piping needed).  The almost $1500 fee is appears to be at least twice as much as it would cost if she were to get the work done herself – which, of course, Watercare has told her that she is not allowed to do.  (Watercare justified the price by stating that a back flow meter must be installed; however, as these are on sale on amazon.com for less than $US200 this does not justify the price charged by Watercare.)  The story in the NZ Herald may be read at this link http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10862715

What You Can Do

If you think the Auckland Council’s CCOs Auckland Transport and Watercare should be supporting people to grow food for themselves and their communities instead of thwarting people’s efforts,  now is the time to have your say.

Currently, Auckland Council’s annual plan is up for public comments.  Aucklanders (and other New Zealanders) who  find it outrageous that the Auckland Transport is seeking to prevent people from planting a fruit tree on the grass verge outside their home (or a neighbor’s home) or that Watercare wants to soak people for installing meters for irrigation may like to express their disapproval of this policy.  Information about the Annual Plan may be found at this link.  Feedback is due by February 25.


The Open Polytechnic Offers Free Training in Horticulture (posted February 2, 2013)

Good news for people who want to learn to grow their own food…or train for a career in the horticultural industry, The Open Polytechnic has made its Level 3 National Certificate in Horticulture fee-free (subject to certain limitations).

According to The Open Polytechnic’s website:  “This Certificate is designed for people who are starting out in horticulture. It will build on your basic skills and knowledge so you can work with confidence and grow your horticulture career.”

Topics covered in this course include plant propagation, how to plant, prune and train plants, different types of soils and fertilisers and how to identify weeds, pests and diseases.

People who successfully complete this Level 3 certificate may choose to continue their studies and gain a Level 4 certificate. This qualification also currently has a fee-free offer.

For more information on the fee-free offer for the National Certificate in Horticulture Level 3, please see



 Localising Food Aotearoa About to Get Underway  (posted October 8, 2012)

As reported in the September-October issue of Organic NZ magazine The Localising Food Aoteaora intiative will be traveling around NZ later this year and into 2013  This  initiative plans to document examples of people producing food for their local communities.

For more information, and to find out when it will be in your area, please visit:



Contact details for the organisers are on the above sites.

If you can contribute to the financial support of this project, please look for “Localising Food Aotearoa” on the crowd funding sites www.wethetrees.co.nz or www.pledgeme.co.nz



How to make a great raised bed garden surround 

The September issue of NZ Gardener magazine shows you how to make a raised bed garden surround for $10.  That’s right $10 will do it, if salvage the wood from a discarded pallet.  There are lots of other ideas of projects you can make from discarded pallets in the September issue. See http://www.nzgardener.co.nz/


Enviro School Competiton

Muesli bar company “Enviro School” competition now open.  Mother Earth’s competition which aims to encourage environmental initiatives (including gardening) in school  is now open. Entries close on September 14th.  This year there is a “People’s Choice” category for which people can vote. For more information:



 Students’ Work Recognised

NorthTec students’ harvest celebrated.  As part of their work towards a qualification in Sustainable Rural Development, the students have worked together on a garden in Kaikohe.  A reporter from the Northland Times visited the students and documented their work.



Grow Together featured in Organic NZ magazine

Grow Together featured in Organic NZ magazine’s “Things We Like” column for their July/August edition.  For more information about Organic NZ magazine, please see www.organicnz.org


Jade Temepara Wins Gardener of the Year

Jade Temepara from Hand Over  Hundy www.handoverahundy.co.nz has won NZ Gardener of the Year.  For the full story see thisn link:  http://www.ashburtonguardian.co.nz/news/todays-news/6137-jade-new-zealands-gardener-of-the-year.html


Grow Together features on the online magazine Happyzine. (See:  http://happyzine.co.nz/ )

You can read the story about growtogether.org.nz at this link



Gardening champions recognised

The dedication of gardeners up and down the country were recognised in this years Gardener of the Year Competition organised by NZ Gardener magazine.   Details are at this link:


NB:  You can sign up for an email newsletter at this page of NZ Gardener’s site: http://www.nzgardener.co.nz/page.asp?id=53


“Hand Over  a Hundy” Helps Families in Ashburton

In May this year, the good work being done by  “Hand Over a Hundy” (See: http://handoverahundy.co.nz/ ) that helps young families take up gardening was recognised in an article in the Ashburton Guradian.


Jade Temepara’s work in starting “Hand Over a Hundy ” was also acknowledged in  the current (January-February) issue of Organic NZ. (See www.organicnz.org for more information about Organic NZ magazine.)

Jade also features in a story in Happyzine  called “NZ Gardener Celebrates Nation’s Green Heroes” – See http://happyzine.co.nz/