A Forest of Food for Everyone

30 Aug 2021
A Forest of Food for Everyone
From left: Community Liaison Advisor Ema Hoani, Tenancy manager Ameleina Togia and Annie Takie, Community Development and Engagement Coordinator Karla Beazley, Assistant Development Manager Simone Rebello, Placemaking Advisor Claire Hansell.

If you’re passionate about sustainability, growing your own food and giving back to your community then you’ll want to find out more about a new communal space and food forest in Mount Roskill’s Molly Green Reserve.

The Food Forest project was developed so locals could come together and grow their own food in their own neighbourhood. It offers a place where people can work collectively to cultivate kai, share knowledge, and be part of a community space where friendships (as well as food) can be nurtured and grown. 

This exciting, community-led initiative was developed in partnership with Kāinga Ora, EcoNeighbourhood, and the Puketāpapa Local Board. Rowan Cant, EcoNeighbourhood coordinator, is excited about how the community will stand to benefit from the Food Forest project.

“Through the garden, we are hoping that people have a central space to gather and meet neighbours, share skills, stories and recipes," he says.

Earlier in the year, following sign off by the local board for a five-year lease, around 30 people from schools, community groups, Piritahi, and Roskill Development took part in a working bee at Molley Green reserve.

As a result of everyone's hard mahi they set up raised garden beds for the food forest and a shed for tools and seed raising. A number of mature trees (repurposed from old Kāinga Ora state homes were also replanted for shade.

“Our involvement in the project highlights our commitment to sustainability, ensuring that the work we are doing is providing for future generations. A community garden is about providing for people now, whereas a food forest is about providing for people in 20 years’ time,’ explained Claire Hansell from Kāinga Ora. 

The official opening of the food forest at Molley Green Reserve on 10 July was led by the Whenua Warriors, a community group dedicated to protecting the taonga tuku iho (treasures passed down from ancestors) of the area. 

During the inaugural event, almost 1000kg of soil was shovelled into the raised garden beds by local council members. Harakeke (flax) and comfrey were also planted by the Kāinga Ora team and local MP’s to promote nutrient rich soil.

If you live in the area and would like to be involved in the project, send a message to Friends of Molley Green Reserve on Facebook at Or drop by for a visit.

Puketāpapa Local Board member Jon Turner and Development Manager Rebecca Allington.