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Source: Auckland Council

Duder Regional Park has gained nearly 200 new trees thanks to prize money won in Money Jam, a school budgeting competition.

The winning entry by 26 students from Auckland Grammar focused on buying native trees for Duder Regional Park. The students then planted those trees as part of a community day on last week.

“Seeing these young people want to do something that will have a positive impact for years to come is really exciting,” said Cllr Richard Hills, Chair of Auckland Council’s Environment and Climate Change Committee.

“Planting trees has social, environmental, cultural and economic benefits. More trees planted means we improve our health and wellbeing, we improve air quality, we reduce flood risk, and we sustain and enhance mauri (spirit). The students planting these trees are providing benefits for numerous generations to come.”

The school liaised with Auckland Council’s Park Services to select 180 Mānuka (Tea-tree), Kahikatea, Tī Kōuka (Cabbage tree), Kōwhai, Harakeke (Flax) and Karamū.

The trees were planted in retired paddocks around gullies and hillsides to stop erosion and create buffers for wetlands and was part of a programme to help restore habitats, boost wildlife, and help increase the urban ngahere (forest) across Tāmaki Makaurau.

Auckland Grammar Headmaster, Tim O’Connor, said the senior students were members of the school’s Interact Club and regularly gave back to their local community through charity street collections, food banks, stream clean-ups and tree planting.

“We strive for our young men to seek out new challenges that reflect our school’s values,” said O’Connor. “Taking part in this competition taught the students important budgeting skills, helped them gain financial confidence and make a positive contribution to our local environment.”  

The Auckland Grammar students entered the competition because it presented an opportunity to learn money skills with the aim that if the Club won, the students would do something good for the environment and community.

Money Jam is a competition run by Sorted in Schools, Te whai hua kia ora, a financial education programme produced by the Commission for Financial Capability (CFFC).

Learning Development Lead at CFFC, Tista Lythe, said the competition received a variety of budgeting plans for parties, sports, and community-based events.  

“Auckland Grammar’s entry was well thought out, realistic and clearly communicated. We also liked that this event would have a positive impact on the wider community.” 

With the planting season well underway the 180 trees from the students have the best opportunity to grow and add to Auckland’s ngahere, providing benefits for all who visit Duder Regional Park in the future.