Te Karaka is proud to have funded Sustainable Taranaki to run programmes for Oranga Tamariki youth.

The programme facilitates youth-led environmental projects that engage and give back to the local community. Impact is focused on a strengths based approach, supporting youth to develop their individual and team strengths, their interests and passions.

After exploring current global, national and local environmental challenges the students were interested in initiating a number of projects. After some collective decision making the group decided to focus on an area they connected with rather than a specific project, with Ohawe beach being the focus. Within this youth were welcomed onto Te Rangatapu Marae and learned about the history of the area.

Over the following two weeks they then pulled apart wooden pallets and built a large planter box to gift to the Marae, alongside weeding and planting vegetables at the centre where the project was based. They also wanted to clean up the Ohawe beach of any rubbish that could affect marine life, and planned and undertook a beach clean up.

Our final celebration session at Te Rangatapu marae involved a beautiful welcoming of guests and family to support the youth with recognition of their achievements. At this event, the youth finished off the planter box by filling it with compost and planted it out with the herbs. This was then gifted to the marae to use for future events.

Throughout the term students researched ideas, planned the project, and were involved in activities that grew their understanding of each other’s strengths and the importance of working together as a team. Students also developed their individual skills, through activities such as planning the beach clean up, planting vegetables and herbs, and building the planter box.

One group member found a photo of his family members on the marae wall, but had never visited before. Another two had met Phoebe Paraha, our contact, previously when visiting the beach. Connecting the youth and their families to Te Rangatapu marae enables them to build relationship with the area and ownership of their local environment. We hope these connections continue in the future.

Sustainable Taranaki works to inspire and support people, businesses and communities to value the environment and act to prioritise sustainability. The organisation works to achieve this through:

  • Being a community-based organisation working with and supporting our communities
  • Empowering people through education and advocacy
  • Providing advice and support in an accessible and non-judgmental manner
  • Identifying and being the initiator of responses to gaps and opportunities.