Community Waitakere: Our Place Project

Press Release – Community Waitakere Charity Trust

Community Waitakere’s Project Twin Streams Henderson Creek is pleased to announce the official opening of the ‘Our Place Project’ on Tuesday, 8 November, 5 pm, Falls Park Rotunda, Henderson. The Hon. Dr. Nick Smith, Environment Minister will …Our Place Project

08 November 2011

Community Waitakere’s Project Twin Streams Henderson Creek is pleased to announce the official opening of the ‘Our Place Project’ on Tuesday, 8 November, 5 pm, Falls Park Rotunda, Henderson. The Hon. Dr. Nick Smith, Environment Minister will be in attendance. Our Place is an exciting youth stream restoration project with a distinctly West Auckland flavour. The project is delivered in partnership with the Ministy for the Environment and aims to provide new opportunities and perspectives for high needs youth.

Project Twin Streams Henderson Creek has secured two years funding from the Ministry for the Environment’s Community Environment Fund. This backing is recognition of the expertise the Community Waitakere team has developed in restoration planting, environmental education and the local community links forged delivering Project Twin Streams in the Henderson Creek catchment.

“We’ve been working with young people to restore local sections of Henderson Creek for some time now using a creative approach targeted at the needs of our diverse community” says Sara Lovitz, Community Engagement Coordinator, Henderson Creek. “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to build on the existing ties we have with Child Youth and Family (Waitakere) and ZEAL West Auckland on the Our Place Project,” she says.

Participants take part in practical on site sessions ranging from eco-sourcing native seeds, raising seedlings and exploring the methodologies behind restoration planting schemes, such as the work undertaken on Project Twin Streams. Laura Armstrong, Community Education Coordinator believes the opportunity to connect high needs and offending youth with the environment can have long-term spins offs for those individuals involved.

“The project gives them an opporutunity to practise co-operation, collaboration and responsibility to achieve environmental results. Young people are the greatest influencers of their peers and are our future decision makers so their direct involvement will have longer and wider reaching benefits. This project is about creating opportunities for young people to engage with their whakapapa and in turn, put manaakitanga and kaitiakitanga into action,” she says. Initial evaluations suggest that the project is resonating well with those youth involved.

“We’re very keen to harness the skills of these young people as they have a lot to offer the project and the wider community,” says Sara. As well as the physical planting work, participants have contributed to a new resource the team is developing that will step through the history of Henderson Creek, te ao maori, issues surrounding water quality and management and stream restoration. “The audience remains top-of-mind in everything we deliver on the project so the youth orientated look of these new resources reflects this and the creative skills of some of the young people we’re working with,” she says.

This collaborative approach is also reflected in the project’s delivery, a partnership model that draws on the strength of a number of organisations. While in its infancy, the Project Twin Streams Henderson Creek team is already looking to the future.

“We’ve established a steering group with guidance and involvement from Te Kawerau a Maki kaumatua Eru Thompson, Auckland Council, Child Youth and Family Services, ZEAL West Auckland, Te Korowai mentoring programme and local youth. We are also working to strengthen relationships with other community groups, businesses, iwi, as well as education and training institutions that will support the project and the young people that are involved now and into the future,” says Pat Watson, Chief Executive, Community Waitakere Charitable Trust.

Background

Community Waitakere is a West Auckland based community development organisation who works in partnership with Auckland Council to deliver Project Twin Streams, a large scale environmental restoration project.

www.communitywaitakere.org.nz
www.projecttwinstreams.com

ENDS

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