Auckland Council
Community Sustainable Schools Environment

Children learn how to build a solid future

Our Auckland | 16 October 2023

Children learn how to build a solid future image

The sound of saws and electric drills accompanied children’s laughter at Pakuranga Heights School as the students swapped the classroom for hands-on learning recently.

Bunnings Warehouse support centre team members left the meetings and spreadsheets behind to become teachers as they joined Garden to Table and Auckland Council Sustainable Schools members to build 10 new raised garden beds.

The home improvement and lifestyle retailer is providing timber for garden beds and compost bins, materials for creating outdoor classrooms like those at Pakuranga Heights, and has already supplied plenty of other materials.

Sustainable Schools advisor Cate Jessep says the company’s support is creating a new generation of practical youngsters.

“It isn’t just about building gardens and compost bins, it’s about partnering with groups like ours and Garden to Table to help the students understand about the environment, where food comes from, recycling, composting and much more."

“Everyone worked with purpose. Senior students were lifting compost and potting mix with enthusiasm, while younger ones were filling the beds with veges and strawberries.”


Got to make sure that's level...students get some help to make sure their garden is just so.

Bunnings national activities co-ordinator Sarah Wardle says the group has nominated nine schools as recipients of ‘team day’ activities that see team members on site helping students set up gardens, greenhouses, orchards or whatever else is needed.

“Supporting our community with hands-on projects is something our team gets involved with throughout the year. It was great to leave the office behind and connect with the school and enjoy how enthusiastic the students were to help set up the garden beds with us.

“This project was a special one because the students were just so keen to learn, to get their hands dirty and to start growing their own food.”

While Bunnings’ staff were teaching the children about the wisdom of ‘measuring twice and cutting once’, Pakuranga is only one of the schools it’s helping.

Ambury, Hunua, Bayfield, The Gardens, Wesley, Silverdale, Pukekohe Intermediate and Titirangi School are all being helped, and the scheme will soon reach out to Aotea Great Barrier where Kaitoke and Mulberry Grove will be helped.

That support comes on top of ongoing work alongside Sustainable Schools experience centres at Ambury Farm, the Arataki Centre, Zero Waste Zone and the Auckland Botanic Gardens.


Garden to Table’s Candace Weir earned a sit down after working with Pakuranga Heights School pupils and Bunnings corporate staff to build new gardens at the school.

Howick Local Board chair Damian Light says Sustainable Schools does amazing work across the area and wider Auckland.

“We’re proud to be involved with the teams that support early childhood centres and schools to foster sustainability. It’s such a good way to spread the word and have young ones engage in actions that are important to them and their communities.

“The work is ultimately about learning from nature and the curriculum-based programmes are really well led, so much so that much of the time the children aren’t even aware just how much they are learning as they participate.”

Garden to Table supports schools to take learning into the garden and on into the kitchen, encouraging children to develop practical skills while raising their awareness of the environment.

The children cook from scratch, using food they’ve grown themselves, and learning kitchen skills, before sitting down together to eat.

There’s more about Council’s learning outside the classroom programme here, Sustainable Schools here, and Garden to Table here.


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