Selwyn Peace Garden

he creation of the Peace garden was inspired by former Principal, Carol White, and construction started in September 2008. The concept was to have a surrounding shelter of native trees with the heart of the garden made up of raised vegetable beds.  In 2016 the native trees between the classrooms have grown and fulfill the shelter vision.
The purposes of the garden are many. Primarily it is a model garden showing newly-arrived refugees what vegetables grow in New Zealand. It provides produce for needy families and is a safe quiet place for reflection and contemplation.

Teaching Tool

Garden courses are being developed now the utilities complex has been completed. The glasshouse will raise seeds for vegetable plants that will be available to students who will be shown how to establish home gardens to help with their weekly food bill.

Those who may have been discouraged in the past may be provided with home visits to see how any space they have may be used to its best advantage. Instruction in dealing with voracious New Zealand bugs will be part of the course.

In 2011, the price of food has grown so much that any addition to the family diet that comes from a home garden is a welcome and healthy addition. Even in the middle of a cold Auckland winter, one can usually find spinach in the backyard garden, with broadbeans coming up and heaps of parsley scattered around. 

In 2016 the garden area has been divided into individualised plots.  Those families who will look after their area are supported with plants. Jane is supervising the activity at the moment. As Spring is here seeds are being raised to give to the various plot holders.


We are delighted and proud that our REAF Peace Garden features in a wonderful article in the 
June 2015 edition of the New Zealand Gardener magazine.


The mural that overlooks the garden was completed in 2009. It was funded by the Auckland City Council. The labour for both projects has been provided by staff and refugee students. The mural and garden beds complement each other in that they embody the sense of peace and place we believe to be central to settlement issues for our students.  

Utility Area

In May 2010, we applied for and were awarded a grant to create a utility area. In conjunction with Community Education and the Eric Holmes Trust, we developed an area with a greenhouse and tool shed. It is our intention to teach skills to students that will enable them to raise seedlings and plants for home use. This project was managed by Del Raine pictured above. Del has since left us and the garden is managed by Dee Williams.
Many people have started gardens of their own. They share gardening stories from their home land and give advice on recipes and vegetable dishes. 

Generous Donations

In November 2016 the gardens got a huge boost to help enrich the soil for ongoing family support.  Kings Plant Barn generously donated several bags of compost, sheep pellets and organic soil mix to our garden beds.  Many families actively use these gardens as food from garden to table and find the beds great therapy to forget the hostilities they have experienced.  As well, many of our students have farmed in their countries of origin.  We are most grateful for this  gift to our gardens.
New World, Remuera has also donated to the garden. The Manager, Adrian Barkla, has provided many of the “Little Garden” plants for our student gardens.  He has also given a box of these seedlings to the Carol White Early Childhood Centre.


The gardens have been fully divided between those families who are interested in cultivating the gardens for food. We have a waiting list for the spaces available.