Keen Green Kids Win Grants For Climate-Clever Ideas

Child watering plant

Creating forest walks in schools, rebuilding gardens devastated by Cyclone Gabrielle, and supporting local communities with food grown by students are just some projects to receive a share of NZ$50,000 from Countdown’s Growing for Good grants this year.

Ten schools across Aotearoa with climate-clever ideas to address climate change and boost sustainability are set to receive Growing for Good grants to make their winning concepts a reality. 

Winners include Hastings kura kaupapa Te Kura o Pakipaki, which plans to teach tamariki and the local community about creating healthy waterways through planting in tune with nature and Auckland’s Favona Primary School, whose students want to create a bush walk on school grounds to absorb carbon dioxide and provide the perfect setting to learn about our native plants and trees.

Woolworths New Zealand’s Head of Sustainability, Catherine Langabeer, said it was humbling to see the younger generation so motivated to protect the environment and looks forward to seeing their ideas make a real difference in their communities.

“This is the fifth year we’ve offered our Growing for Good grants, and it’s heartening to see the growing impact this is having across the motu, restoring our natural environment and providing opportunities for students to get hands-on with projects that provide food, areas of beauty and habitats for wildlife,” said Lanagbeer. 

Other grant winners plan to provide homegrown healthy food for their schools and local communities, use organic waste and rainwater better, and restore forests and gardens hit by the recent devastating weather events. Judges selected entries that were well thought-out and addressed a need in the broader community.

“The tamariki we see participating in the programme shows real diligence, imagination and determination to make our world a better place, and these are exactly the characteristics we need to help solve some of our most pressing global challenges, like climate change and food security.” 

2023 Growing For Good recipients:

Te Kura o Pakipaki (Hastings)

Te Kura o Pakipaki will create the ‘Hinewai Project’ to teach tamariki, local iwi and hapū how to create healthy waterways and awa (rivers). This includes teaching tamariki how to identify the best time of the year to plant and grow native trees and further connect with the well-being of Papatūānuku, Maramataka and Hinewai. 

Tangowahine School (Dargaville)

Tangowahine School is set to renovate its vegetable gardens and greenhouses, devastated by Cyclone Gabrielle flooding. The project aims to teach students how to safeguard food production for the future.

Cambridge Primary School (Cambridge)

Cambridge Primary School will install various recycling sorting bins in all its classrooms and teaching areas to minimise the volume it sends to landfills through education of its tamariki, effective sorting of waste, and ongoing checks and training.

Nelson Intermediate School (Nelson)

Nelson Intermediate School will install a series of tanks to capture rainwater. The water capture tanks will sit next to its gym and two classrooms, acting as a large catchment area for gathering water into tanks for the gardens, fruit trees and native trees. This will ensure that the school can provide sustainable crop irrigation during the summer and school holidays.

Waikaia School (Waikaia)

Waikaia School will develop a new vegetable garden in an unused area of its school. Students will oversee the garden and sell (or donate) vegetables to the local community.

 Westbrook Primary (Rotorua)

Westbrook Primary will create a working compost bin and worm farm area to help generate organic waste for its school vegetable garden.

Matiere School (Matiere) 

Matiere School will implement Mara Kai ō Matauranga Matiere – a project aimed at communicating and driving sustainable living. It’s based on building a sustainable vegetable garden that links planting with the Maramataka calendar and Matariki. Tamariki will design and build the garden with sustainable and recycled materials, grow and harvest the crops, and cook a meal for the community.

Newton Central School / Te Kura a Rito o Newton (Auckland)

During last summer’s weather events, Newton Central School’s prized forest, planted by every child who has walked through the gates since 1990, was severely hit. The school’s project aims to revitalise and recover the forest to preserve its historic significance and natural beauty. 

Mount Albert Grammar School (Auckland)

Mount Albert Grammar will install a vertical garden on the perimeter mesh fence of its horticulture block. The garden will provide additional growing space for junior students and enable Year 10 students to supply the produce grown to the school’s food technology classes.

Favona Primary School (Auckland)

Favona Primary School will develop a native bush walk to teach students the importance of trees – specifically natives. These will play a part in mitigating climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide. Creating the bush walk will also promote students’ awareness of environmental conservation by featuring iconic native plants and trees such as harakeke, kawakawa, liver ferns, cabbage trees, manuka, and more.