Whangaparāoa Playcentre gets barrels for the better

The barrels were decorated for their own official opening, which Hibiscus & Bays local board members Julia Parfitt, Chris Bettany and Janet Fitzgerald attended.

Cake made by Playcentre member Tineke van der Linden to celebrate the barrels’ official opening.

Two water barrels have been installed at Whangaparāoa Playcentre as a part of a sustainable water education programme run by the Whitebait Connection.

The 220 litre barrels will collect water from the centre’s roof which will be used to water their gardens.

An official opening for the sustainable water system took place on Monday June 17, and marked the end of the Whitebait Connection programme called Ko te Wai He Taonga – Water is our Treasure.

The programme, which was funded by the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board, saw four, one hour-long educational sessions take place over a month, taken by Whitebait Connection coordinator Sarah Dimitrijevic.

Playcentre member and sustainability officer Mareike von Behren says that the sessions included a mix of reading educational stories, songs and dancing, along with a lot of hands-on activities such as exploring the tiny, vulnerable species living in freshwater streams with magnifying glasses.

After her twins went through the programme, Mareike says she can see that the message got through.

“I am proud to hear them discussing how to save water in the bathroom at home now,” she says.

“Whilst brushing their teeth I heard my son saying ‘Sarah said turn off the taps’.”

Whangaparāoa Playcentre is trying to be more environmentally friendly in other areas, too. They banned glitter last year and have recently added a Bokashi system to their existing worm farm and compost bin so they can process all food scraps on site.

“In the Bokashi system we collect processed food and citrus peel, which our worms don’t like,” Mareike says.

“Digging in the contents of the Bokashi bin is enrichening and fertilising our clay soil and enables us to grow a great amount of vegies for our tamariki to do healthy baking and cooking with during our family sessions.

“Our tamariki are involved in every step of this wonderful cycle. They help planting, prepping veggies, and with our composting systems.”

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