Signs of a Good Fit

27th October 2020

Written by Beulah Wood

A Rocha members have joined with Friends of Oakley Creek for over 10 years now. And it’s a good fit.

The Place

It’s a rather special place—watched over by FoOC for the benefit of future generations and saved from the destruction a motorway would cause. It’s been raining on the day I visit. The creek rushes industriously past the lawns and playground of Phyllis Reserve, under the bridge and on towards Great North Road. The valley is becoming again a tiny patch of forest, ngahere. And that, surprisingly, in the middle of the Auckland isthmus. It’s a refuge with its piwakawaka (fantails), mallard ducks, a rare shining cuckoo, tuna (eels), and skinks.

Oakley Creek Walkway signage

Sue and Beulah at the Oakley Creek working bee

The Plants

Wander down the steps at the end of Cradock Street any day you choose. You’ll see harakeke (flaxes), coprosmas, titoki, a few ferns, ti kouka (cabbage trees), totara, manuka, and more. Many still bear a stick with a pink ribbon tag—proof of the latest planting in July. Others are several years into growth with no care to remind us they were planted and watched. They adorn the stream bank, they protect it from erosion and they reclaim it for native species. It’s something to be proud of.

In addition, I ask you to notice what you don’t see much of—tradescantia, creepers, young wattle trees. The floor is not covered with rubbish but with healthy leaf litter turning to humus. Yes! This is the goal, jointly achieved on the area where Friends of Oakley Creek and A Rocha have worked together.

The People

Where Wendy and team have ranged this stream, protecting the creek-side environment for years, in 2007 the Auckland A Rocha group adopted part of the creek on which to work regularly. They were looking for a place to make a practical impact in addition to the education they encourage of caring for God’s creation. Here was a team working on the ground right near where some lived in Cradock Street and nearby. They promote the annual planting and weeding days to their own network and people come to help from nearby and further afield.

They come for Friends of Oakley Creek’s work plan, advice and bags or boxes of seedlings. They need a fine winter Saturday (or else work on through drizzle and downpour, as has happened at times). On go the gardening gloves, out come the spades or trowels or secateurs, the tarpaulin for the pile of weeds, the banter and discussion and appreciation.

And what’s at the finish of the morning? Rice and dal (dahl) at organiser Sarah’s house above the valley of the creek. Yeah! Feels like that’s a reward and more community in response to the shared task. In its world-wide groups A Rocha espouses five C’s—Conservation, Christian, Cross-Cultural, Community and Co-operation.  Working with the community group at Oakley Creek fits their ethos, with a focus on caring for one’s local area. We hope and plan for the camaraderie, conservation and cooperation to continue, and that the mahi done together will last for generations.

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