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Source: Auckland Council

Manurewa families went bush without even leaving the neighbourhood recently, taking part in the first ever Totara Park Family Camp.

Auckland Council community programme ranger Glenn Browne says his colleagues had a wonderful time with those who traded their bedrooms for tents.

“We had a terrific adventure, and we owe a vote of thanks to the Friends of Totara Park for helping inspire the next generation of park kaitiaki.

“We do need to remind people that this was a special event and there’s no camping at Totara Park. This was about connecting families with nature and giving them the confidence to enjoy camping at one of the 40 Tāmaki Makaurau Regional Park campsites.”

Manurewa Local Board chair Joseph Allan says Totara Park is a wonderful asset in the heart of an urban environment.

“We are blessed to have it, and especially all those volunteers who look after it and help make it the special place it is.

“It’s great to see families enjoying everything the park has to offer, all while creating new lifelong memories for their children.”

Browne says rangers get all the thanks they need in the form of amazing feedback from the families involved.

“Who doesn’t enjoy putting smiles on people’s faces and watching children laugh.

“Some of the feedback we’ve had has been really inspiring, with people loving the activities offered, the games, the bush walks, the chance to see and experience new things, and just the sense of adventure from being around a campfire and sleeping in tents.”

One comment on the event summed it up: “Glenn and the rest of the crew were awesome. They made our stay very enjoyable. They deserve a pay rise and an award for the great things they do for the community. It would be awesome to make the next event a bit longer – like a minimum two nights.”

COVID-19 during the year limited outdoor events but the board hopes to see more camps in 2021.