The Dell – Kapiti Coast Village
Kapiti residents have transformed a dump for green waste into a communal area and nursery for native trees.
In 2017, a group of hardworking residents saw the opportunity to turn a 25-year green waste dumping ground into something beautiful and useful.
Former resident chairperson Kert Snater, his friend Harold Timmins and others had a vision of ‘eco-planting’ – where residents would grow and sustain native plants and saplings to use throughout the village. First step was to clear an area called the Ballinger’s Retreat, named for the original owners of the village. They then set to work organising resident working bees to cut scrub, remove trailer-loads of rubbish and wild blackberry vines, and level the area.
Former resident chairperson, Kert Snater
They laid six truckloads of mulch, lined borders with hundreds of river boulders donated by the local Raumati bowling club and grew kowhai and other natives from seed to plant along walkways. After more than two years of work, ‘The Potting Shed’ was unveiled on Arbor Day 2019; residents planted 80 native shrubs to mark the occasion. Soon after they added a hothouse to generate seeds.
Now, ten residents turn up every Monday to maintain what has been renamed The Dell, an area used for gatherings and social occasions. Around 400 seedlings are being nurtured for next year’s planting, and a ‘memory lane’ of donated objects and garden ornaments is underway.
“We work collaboratively with BARK staff [garden contractors] so our project has educational value as well as promoting social interaction and vitality among residents,” Kert said. “It is such a unique area of tranquillity and birdlife. A haven within paradise.”
What motivates Kert and the team?
“Peace,” he says. “We work so hard, so sometimes we come here and we don’t work at all – or we go to the village cafe for a cuppa and to rearrange the world.”