Graham and Perrine

“Our house was condemned after the February earthquake and we had to find a new home.

We found Halswell to be an absolute haven. Our boundary was with the reserve and our gardens merged together. I think the potential that was in the reserve hit me and our neighbours encouraged us to proceed.

Other people started coming on board and they bought their love of gardening and energy and so it’s grown as a team. So that’s lovely. It is about fellowship, and communities valuing and owning the community they are in.

We got a new neighbour down the end there and I took down a bunch of flowers and said ‘nice to have you on the reserve, would you mind if we borrowed a bit of water occasionally’. They put hoses out and looked after that end and now we’ve got fruit trees going flat out because of them. We’ve got hoses over the fence on all four corners.

We get things given to us. People do that. You’ll see I’ve got four kowhais at the entrance. I’ve gone down every 3-4 days and given water to them. Life support they’re on. Now another person said I’m just doing my pots, here’s a jar of 60 daffodil bulbs; and I said that’s 15 for around each of my kowhais that will be lovely! So that’s how it happens. It grows just because you talk about it.

There are a whole lot of benefits. I get to know what Pauline and Helen’s muffins are like, if you could get a job like that!

It’s communal. We share and we give and we help. Perrine is my eyes and ears – she’s my secretary.”

Charity registration number: CC57701