Article adapted from Friends Newsletter  February 2014

One of the major projects that the Friends have  embarked on for 2013-14 is to support the proposal for the development of a Children's Garden in the Botanic Garden. This support is both through becoming the nominal sponsor of the project and providing seed-funding to enable the major fundraising effort required to get under way.

The Children's Garden is planned to be a world-class interactive garden where children can explore, discover and connect with the natural world. In this "living classroom" children will learn about plants and their importance to our lives and environment. There will be a full-time educator working with school and community groups. Young people will be taught about the vital role plants play in our lives and encourage them to respect all living things. They will come to understand that we rely on plants for our food, shelter and clean air - and that plants provide many of our medicines, fabrics and fuels.

The garden will encourage hands-on exploration of plants and their uses. They will be able to harvest food, make compost and learn how to grow plants. It will complement and extend activities already under way in a number of schools in the region.

The design, construction and education programme will cost around $2.5 million, of which $750,000 has been contributed by the Plimmer Trust and $50,000 by the Laqoda Legacy. A further $1.7 million is therefore needed, as ratepayer funds are not being used. Further philanthropic, community and business support is therefore being sought. The official fund raising launch was held on 13 February.

The plan is to begin construction of the qarden in November 2014, with the garden established by mid-2015, and an official opening in February 2016 once the new plants are established. Garden management is in the final stages of selecting a landscape design company after proposals from Auckland, Christchurch and Australia. The design process will include:

          Researching and working with children to identify better the stimuli they respond best to

         Meeting and discussing with representatives of migrant communities to identify crop plants that miqht be desirable and possible to grow in the garden and meet their expectations

         Consultinq with Mana Whenua to identify those elements that they consider essential to be included in the garden

         • Consulting with environmental educators to understand ways in which the qarden will meet the education curriculum and how that might be best delivered.

If you would like to assist with fund raising, please contact Ann McLean

Story: John Larkindale

With material provided by Katherine Monks & Ann McLean

To donate:

Payment  by cheque or direct debit to the Friends Children's Garden bank account  -  click for form
Cash donations  can be made at the Treehouse Visitor Center

Payment by credit card through Telecom Foundation's Give a Little facility .       
The full amount of the donation goes to the Friends.

Credit card payment can not be used for membership subscriptions; it is only available for donations to the Children's Garden


         Payment direct to the Friends of membership subscriptions  etc can only be made using the Membership Application Form