International Students Help at Ōtākaro Orchard

19 Dec International Students Help at Ōtākaro Orchard

Last Saturday, a group of international students of University of Canterbury, Lincoln University, Papanui High School, Shirley Boys’ High School, Hillmorton High School and New Zealand College of Business with Christchurch Educated International Student Ambassadors put on their gardening gloves to help at #Christchurch’s first urban food hut : the Ōtākaro Orchard.

On the day, volunteers from the Canterbury Horticultural Society and about 20 international students, managed by the Christchurch Educated International Student Association, were helping make “a big jigsaw puzzle of plants”.

University of Canterbury management student Xue Li and Hillmorton High School student Nadine Feldmann were among those planting 30 different berry shrubs between the fruit trees established in August.

Originally from China and Germany, it was their first gardening experience.”I saw this on Facebook and I thought, it’s quite meaningful,” Xue Li said.Artist’s rendering of Ōtākaro Orchard edible garden and cafe, now being developed at Cambridge Tce, Christchurch.”I’ve never planted anything before, it’s quite interesting.”

Papanui high school year 12 student Romy Sauer of Germany currently studying in Christchurch for a year on an exchange programme participated the planting day as well.

“I wanted to give something back to the great community of Christchurch and do something useful and helpful in the holidays! I think Christchurch is a great city with such amazing people. I love the diversity with all the different people from different countries and with different cultures. It is good that the volunteers try to create something that lasts and to make Christchurch green and beautiful. I hope to come back in a few years and than see people enjoying the edible garden the volunteers are creating at the moment. I hope to come back in a few years and then see people enjoying the edible garden the volunteers .”

Leanne Russ, a teacher at Shirley Boys’ High School, brought her elderly father Edgar “Rusty” Russ from Windsor House to help, alongside the international students. She said Russ, who has dementia, was “a gun on the wheelbarrow” and that “it’s nice for him to get out in the community [because] he just loves being busy and is very social”. Russ said he was a beginning gardener but enjoyed “scratching around” on a sunny Saturday.

* Orchard to bloom in Christchurch city centre
* City centre orchard reaches fund raising target
* Orchard shows a community-led city is possible

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