Restoration helps pupils build links with own area

Guardians . . . Hard at work planting trees at Tuturau Reserve are Mataura School pupils and Gore District Council staff. PHOTO: MICHAEL CURREEN

The restoration of Tuturau Reserve is helping Mataura School pupils build a relationship with their local area.

Senior pupils helped Gore District Council staff plant trees there on Thursday morning.

Deputy principal Sam Walker said many of the pupils had not been to Tuturau Reserve before, but now they had a connection with it.

“What I’m hoping is that connection to their local place is strengthened by coming to events like this.

“Mataura School’s really happy to be kaitiaki to the whenua at Tuturau Reserve.”

This meant the pupils were learning their role as guardians of the land and the environment, she said.

“This is our local community and this is what we look like when we’re servicing and looking after our local community.”

Council parks and recreation manager Keith McRobie said it was a chance for the pupils to have positive interactions with council staff.

“These guys are the public face of council so it’s quite good. Kids can relate to them on a one-to-one level.”

Tuturau Reserve was once a popular spot and the aim was to restore it to a place people wanted to visit again, he said.

“We had a big clean-out earlier in the year. Everything was overgrown.”

They were now replanting “a range of natives that would’ve been in this area”.

“We’re just supplementing the existing plants really,” he said.