Feeding the kids at te kura

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By ANN CHAPMAN

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Merle Metekingi, Kura garden instructor extroadinaire

The Otaki Mail, in recent articles has written about the need to put kids first. At Te Kura-a-iwi-o Whakatupuranga Rua Mano they are doing just that with their garden.
Although it was first started in 2008 when it grew a crop of kamokama, corn and riwai maori every year as well as planting the now productive fruit trees, the garden has recently taken root, growing all manner of veges used in the kitchen to provide lunch for an average 80 lucky kids three days a week. They run ‘hoko kai’ on three days where the students pay $3 per day if they wish to have ‘hoko kai’. They get their morning tea and a cooked lunch using as much of their own food as possible. They use their own eggs, vegetables and pork – “the more self sufficient we become the better’ says Anihaere Armstrong.
The Kura’s aim is for the kids to learn where food comes from, to learn about nutrition and to become self sufficient. Some kids go hunting and fishing while others tend the garden.
Since March the Kura now has a full vege and fruit garden from potatoes to peas and beans. While there, I eyed with some envy, a fine crop of broad beans in full flower. There are also apples, figs, kiwifruit feijoas and berries.
The garden is used as part of the science curriculum. They do soil analysis and have pigs, ducks and chooks for biology- never mind the recently hunted wild pig in the chiller.
They are about to put in a biodigester to power the electric fence to keep the pigs in, fuelled with waste product from the garden. They have an application in with KCDC for funding from the Waste Minimisation Fund.
All this is maintained by Te Whanau and the kids. What a great outdoor classroom they have here.