The students came by way of a programme called GlobaLinks – check out this web site: www.globalinksabroad.org and they contract to a New Zealand company called Kuaka NZ Ltd: www.kuaka.co.nz.
The contact person for us from “Kuaka” was Doug Farr from Tauranga. Basically the students are undertaking 6 months of their university study here in New Zealand.
As part of their initial 5 days orientation to New Zealand they visit Rotorua, to experience a little about Maori culture and to learn some basic things about New Zealand way of life. They also get to spend part of a day with a local community group who are involved with local environmental projects.
In our case the students came to help assist Landcare Okareka and Rotorua District Council with flax pruning and with remedial work along the edge of the lake where the erosion is impacting the walkway. The students were spilt into 2 groups. One group attacked flaxes while the other group helped break up larger rocks and shift these into places where required. Thankfully we had the use of “the Falconer barge” once again – thank you Dennis! The rocks were loaded on to the barge and ferried to where ever they were required to form a hard edge to prevent further erosion, especially around the front of the shade shelter. Another 20 or so sand bags were also filled and placed in behind the rocks, to help stabilise the area.
RDC Parks and Reserves Clark McCarthy supported the Working Bee by providing all kinds of equipment for both tasks – this included spades and gloves for flax removal and wheelbarrows, gloves and a large hammer for breaking larger rocks.
The students had a break and changed over tasks. They spent about 2 hours on each task. The work ended with a swim and lunch at Silver Beach. Thanks to the Landcare Okareka volunteers who were also able to come and help.
We are hoping that this will be an ongoing relationship as we have already been told that more students will be arriving in New Zealand in July, and would be vey keen to help with a community planting at Lake Okareka. Possibly behind the pump station adding on to what was planted last winter.Keep looking out for the Landcare Okareka sign boards when they go out to advertise Working Bees. We appreciate any assistance that the community can provide. Our aim is to make Okareka a nicer place to live in.
Sandra Goodwin 362 8865 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: GlobaLinks students enjoy lunch at Silver Beach after a hard morning of work pruning flaxes and shifting rocks along Lake Okareka Walkway