It all started on the day I thought to myself “I would like to plant some trees”. It was 2001 and I wasn’t working at the time. Not sure who I should talk to about tree-planting I went to the Council at Takapuna to find out and they directed me here to the Kaipatiki Project. Back then it was known as Kaipatiki Ecological Restoration Project.
I was greeted warmly by Tabitha Becroft who took me to the local bush where we planted some trees. One thing she told me in regard to manuka and kanuka trees was ‘manuka is mean, kanuka is kind’. I came back once or twice and I was invited to attend the 5th anniversary of KERP’s opening.
In 2004 I came every Thursday morning for about seven months – all the potting was then done on the table in the shade-house. It could be rather a squash on wet days! In 2007 I came back yet again. I had done volunteer work in other places but I realised that Kaipatiki Project was where I wanted to be.
So I gradually increased my hours and ended up studying Nursery Production at NZQA Level 4 with the support of Char Bailie who marked my papers.
And now here I am in a paid position as Kaipatiki Project’s Nursery Assistant and supervisor of disabled people.
Thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way. I will say this, you are the only ones who have really looked beyond my sight loss and taken me seriously. I am very grateful to you all.
Never give up hope – you will win if you don’t quit!