The Rotary clubs of New Lynn and Henderson and Rotalite West have transformed a wild and woolly pond area at Waitakere Hospital into a beautiful, workable, restful space for patients, visitors and all West Aucklanders to enjoy. In Rotary Henderson’s 60th year the club was determined, despite COVID-19 to deliver a large-sized project which would allow all members to participate in some hands-on work – whether it be chainsawing, hauling branches, mulching, planting, or organising morning teas and lunches for the hungry volunteers.
The project, which was in discussion for nearly two years was brought to the club by The Well Foundation, the charitable arm of the Waitemata District Health Board. The pond area is used by patients and their families as well as staff from the hospital who find it a quiet place to temporarily escape the pressures of the hospital environment. Over the years the area became quite overgrown – not helped by the dumping of two very large piles of debris excavated from the site of the new emergency department which was constructed around five years ago. In fact, a large amount of kikuyu, gorse and wattles had taken over part of the site, and tea tree had grown up blocking the view of the pond and making hospital staff hesitant about using the area.
An amazing landscape design was prepared by a club member’s daughter, Tania Barke, from ‘Through The Garden Gate Design’ and over a number of weekends, members from the three clubs involved cut down a large number of trees which were then used for mulching and firewood. A digger was on site for nearly two weeks excavating and reshaping two mounds of dirt and adding over 300 cubic metres of additional soil to turn them into something representing two sets of arms wrapping themselves around the pond. Working bees were held to plant a large number of new trees, shrubs and tussock grasses on the site.  Around 1,000 + volunteer hours. A joint district grant with Rotary New Lynn provided two beautiful park benches and two industrial rubbish bins to enhance the space.
We tracked our progress via Facebook and raised our Rotary profile. Well Foundation organised a grand opening and have erected permanent signage – 2.3 metres long, advertising the project was done by New Lynn and Henderson Rotary Clubs. Well Foundation also advertised our progress through their internal communications to staff. We are enormously proud of the finished area, and we were delighted to see people using the space while we were completing the works.
Wendy Coyle, President Rotary Henderson