Theft upsets community garden

Members of the May Street Reserve Community Garden Nigel Kurzfeld, John MacKinnon and Leigh Pettigrew had two pieces of equipment stolen recently. Photo/John Borren.

Members of the May Street Reserve Community Garden have been growing fresh food for families, friends and to strengthen community bonds for 11 years.

However, recently they’ve had to dip into their own funds to keep the community garden afloat after two pieces of equipment stolen last month, causing a heavy feeling of disappointment throughout the community.

On the evening of March 17, a lawn mower and edge trimmer were taken from the garden.

The garden was opened in 2011 by members of the Mount Maunganui Lions Club with the purpose to encourage organic, non-chemical growing techniques to provide healthy and organic food within healthy soil, and has flourished to be a beneficial resource to its surrounding community.

May Street Reserve Community Garden member Leigh Pettigrew has been a part of the project since the beginning. He says with the amount of work put into the garden over the years, they’re quite upset about the burglary.

“We’re often reading reports from our neighbourhood watch and that sort of thing, and there is quite an increase in crime and burglary in the area.

“It seems to be on the rise at the moment.

“We have an honesty system going where people can come in and take what they need, but you don’t expect people to go in and steal things.

“We’re quite vulnerable here.”

The garden used to have a large amount of security due to neighbouring apartments, but in recent years they have been under construction.

Leigh says once people move back in security will be less of an issue. The execution of the garden occurred in 2011 where the Mount Maunganui Lions Club secured salvaged timber from the Rena, sourced piles of donated soil and had elected their first committee.

Now in the 11 year, Leigh says the benefits have been huge. 

“It’s a service to humanity because there’s so many apartments and high density living around.

“We now have a waiting list of 20 and 43 plots altogether and 10 per cent of what the garden has produced, we give to charity. At the moment we’re donating to Kai Ora," says Leigh.

“It was pretty devastating losing this equipment because people will have to break into their funds to replace it all.

“Due to Covid, there are people out there struggling financially, and there has been a rise in theft in the area.”


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@Terry Hall

Posted on 10-04-2022 23:47 | By morepork

I found your post interesting and can understand how demotivating it must be to try and teach kids who are working against you. Some of what you described is dangerous in the extreme and could have had fatal consequences. You are right that much of this stems from total lack of self discipline, but it is the parents job to provide that, and that’s why I believe that parents should be held responsible for under-age crime. As an ex-soldier, I can tell you that (Compulsory) Military Service IS a good thing for youthful tearaways, but, even there, they can be a danger to others. It is not the Army’s job to reform wasted youth; they have their own agenda, but aspects of training do have a good effect on restless young people. Sometimes they come out with a confidence and purpose that can turn them round.

will not stop.

Posted on 10-04-2022 18:05 | By terry hall

will not stop, they will get a smack on the hand, some high paid lawer will plead bad upbringing, and all that crap, these people have had no education, you see them around shopping malls scate board parks when they should be at school what do you expect, there is no hope for them none at all, worked with them tried to teach them, if i had the space i could tell you how they are, sabotaging the machinery you try to teach with, turning on lpg gas heater when they go home but do not light it hoping for an explosion, somebody went back at night and broke off all the door handles so we could not open the class rooms, waste of tax payer money, would like to see compulsory military service, where discipline can be metered out with out the civilian law interfering,

Again, the majority penalised by a scumbag minority.

Posted on 10-04-2022 12:54 | By morepork

Most people are reasonable and decent, want to be part of the solution, and can be trusted without problem. But there is a despicable element who are not, and all they see is their own greed. I’m wondering if such people should have to answer to the community when they are apprehended. The first thing should be financial reparation to the victims for replacement of stolen equipment, and then there should be face-to-face statement by the victims and the culprits. Jail and fines doesn’t change any minds. Maybe supervised community service, might. A few hundred years ago we would have stuck them in the town square and pelted them with rotten vegetables... Nowadays, these people have no shame so it would be less effective (still fun, though... :-)) I wonder if it would be a deterrent?....

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