News and Events

St Joseph’s Waitara get help weeding wetland

October 2, 2023

Focus on sustainability

Taranaki Enviroschools and Mitre 10 MEGA New Plymouth partnered in 2022 to bring about positive change and extend on the sustainability efforts of Mitre 10 MEGA New Plymouth.

Over the last 2 years, through Enviroschools, Mitre 10 MEGA has supplied Taranaki schools and kindergartens with over $10,000 worth of goods and a number of working bees where their staff stop working in the shop and head out into the community for the greater good.

All support has gone towards supporting schools in their efforts around their Living Landscapes, a key Theme Area of the Enviroschools kaupapa.  Applicants weren’t limited to Enviroschools and there were applicants from across the ECE sector all the way through to Year 13’s as well as the kaupapa Māori Kura and Kōhanga.  The 2023 applicants needed gear to support their Māra kai/food gardens, wetlands restorations and tools for mahi tamariki are doing at school on a daily basis.

“It’s a pleasure to be able to reach out and support all Taranaki learners through an excellent relationship through the common focus of sustainability.”  Lauree Jones, Team Leader Education and Enviroschools Regional Coordinator for Taranaki.

Boggy fields to wetland to a need to weed and now?

In March 2010, after battling ongoing boggy school fields, the staff at St Joseph’s Waitara initiated a practical learning inquiry with the Senior students, on how to solve the problem. All students submitted ideas and the best solution they all came up with, was to develop wetlands next to the school playing field.

The Carex sedge in the foreground was one of the native species planted by the Wetland Extreme Team in 2010.

After lots of thinking and designing, a plan as drawn up, supported by some very creative, talented students. The sketch was put out to experts who helped with the final design. The school team of enthusiastic students called “the wetland extreme team” consisting of eighteen Year 7 & 8 students, submitted an application to Project Crimson, Rudd Kleinpaste and the Treemendous Makeover Team, showing why St Joseph’s Waitara deserved the wetland makeover.

The Treemendous Trust, Mazda Foundation and Kids Restore NZ, donated $14,000.  Many other people and businesses donated products and their time to help the land return to its original swamp, and to create an authentic learning environment. The whole school community came together and the wetlands came alive with ponds, plants and fish life.

“The Wetlands continue to be a source of inspiration and are very much linked to our Special Character as kaitiaki of the environment and showing respect for God’s earth.” – Rachael Gibbons, Tumuaki/ Principal St Joesph’s Waitara

Learning in, about and for nature

Over the years, the school has worked closely with Enviroschools, the New Plymouth District Council and the Taranaki Regional Council. All aspects of the natural world have been studied in this rich environment, from pond life, bird life and plant life with the most recent focus on a predator free programme.

A combination of expertise and enthusiasm had everyone working to get the job done.

Helping build a sustainable community.









The wetland has been an area which is used relatively regularly as a learning space, but like anything left to its own devices, pest plants start creeping in and things get over-grown. Arum “green Goddess” has established itself and some of the natives were restricting access. A working bee combining knowledge and enthusiasm was organised!

The weed, Arum “Green Goddess” tolerates a lot of conditions including wet areas.

Hany hands.









“A big thank you to Mega Mitre 10 New Plymouth for the fantastic mahi done in our Wetlands.  We are super stoked we got a great start on this project and really appreciate all of the help given.” – Rachael Gibbons, Tumuaki/ Principal St Joseph’s School Waitara