logo Practical Dreamers

Environment award
for Mornington Methodists


The Mornington Methodist church congregation have received an Otago Regional Council Environment Award in recognition of the church’s commitment to the enhancement and development of a stretch of the Kaikorai Stream in Dunedin.   Only three such awards have been made by the regional Council and this is the first to a volunteer group.

The Award was presented by Duncan Butcher,  chairperson of the Otago Regional Council at the official opening of the site on Sunday 2nd March:   “Community involvement is essential to the success of this project.   This stretch of the Kaikorai stream is an excellent example of how the community is working with the council to bring to life the  3 Streamscapes  of Dunedin.   It is the commitment of the Mornington Methodist church that we have recognised with this award”.

The award was accepted by Leaders Meeting chairperson Marion Kitchingman and immediate past chairperson Mary Thompson,  who explained that this began as a Millennium Project for the church,  and was chosen because it would contribute to the environment of the neighbourhood for future generations,  and would be a worthwhile and long-term project.   “Everyone has been involved in some way so we can all take pleasure from this award,”  Mary said.

The church adopted this section of the stream in December 1999 as a long-term project.   Working with the Council,  a plan was developed to re-established native trees and create a walkway along a 500-metre stretch of the stream,  which runs through an industrial area.   It is part of the Otago Regional Council’s  3 Streamscapes  project within the city to enhance the recreational and ecological value of the Water of Leith,  Kaikorai Stream and Lindsay Creek waterways.

Members of the Mornington Methodist Church
negotiating the Kaikorai Stream stepping stones
at the opening of the Streamscape walkway

Sue Galloway and Alistair Neaves are are co-ordinating the church’s involvement in the project.   About 1000 trees have been planted in three planting sessions since March 2001 and a further 1000 trees will be planted over the next few years.   Sue explained that members of the congregation have had a variety of roles,  including planting and weeding,  baking for planting teams,  providing grass clippings for mulch,  pantihose to tie up plants,  and old venetian blinds to act as markers for the young plants.   Alistair has also co–ordinated the building of three bench seats by the men from the congregation.   The heavier work of scrub and willow clearing and tracklaying have been organised by the Regional Council.   The current emphasis is on establishing the plants,  and clearing weeds around each plant to make sure that they survive –  rather than on aesthetics.   Although it will take some time before the area looks ‘beautiful’,  already some of the larger toitoi are producing flowering fronds,  and some of the young trees have flowered and are taller than the children who planted them.

Unveiling the information sign on the Streamscape walkway

The recent Opening Ceremony at the site was attended by the Mornington congregation and Otago Regional Council representatives.   After announcing the Environment Award Duncan Butcher declared the walkway open,  and the site was blessed by minister Geoff King using the New Zealand blessing below written especially for the occasion.   Those who were able then walked along the track where track markers and an information sign were unveiled by the children.   A fine day meant that the event was completed with a picnic afternoon tea.


The blessing

“ This is a project that has meant a lot to the members of the Mornington Methodist Church.   It has brought us out in good weather and bad.   Uniting people from different cultures and different generations to contribute something that will,  we hope,  bring pleasure to the members of our wider community.   It has been something we’ve had a lot of fun doing  (most of the time!),  and we’re grateful to have been given the opportunity to do it.   It’s an expression of belonging to this community and of our faith in a creative and creating God,  a God of many names and cultures.   And in recognition of that I now want to say a few words of blessing that one of our members, Hilda Hughson, has written for this occasion:

“I nga ra o mua, i kakahutia e Tane Mahuta tona whaea,
A Papatuanuku,  i nga momo rakau katoa.

   In former times,  Tane clothed his mother Papatuanuku in all kinds of trees.

I tenei ra,  ka whakanui,  a,
Ka inoi ki a koe,  e te Ariki,
Kia manaakitia,  kia tiakina enei rakau hou
Kia tipu ake ki te taumata o te oranga.

   Today we celebrate and ask, O Lord, that these new trees be blessed and
   cared for so that they will grow to their full potential.

Me waiho tenei wahi mo nga tangata katoa o inaianei,
O nga tau hoki kei te heke mai.

   May this place be set aside for all people now and in the years ahead.

I runga I te ingoa o te Matua,  me te Tama,  me te Wairua Tapu.

   In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.



Report by Sue Galloway,  with photos by Richard Cannon


>>>   Home Page


>>>   Site Index