Kings in the Community - University of Auckland Bee Sanctuary

25 Jan, 2023

At Kings, we’re proud to support community groups who are on a mission to make their neighborhoods greener. So, when we heard about The Sustainable Future Collective (SFC), a group of University of Auckland students working together to promote sustainability, we knew we wanted to be involved.

SFC believes in promoting sustainability in a way that is nonjudgmental and accessible to all. They bring a fresh, contemporary perspective towards the key issues affecting their generation, and take sustainability actions into their own hands.

Since the beginning of 2022, Kings have been supporting the SFC group with their Bee Sanctuary. The garden is a steep, narrow abandoned site, situated next to the Law faculty building on Federal Street in the central city of Auckland. Formed in July of 2018, the sanctuary was created with the intention to provide much-needed habitat on campus for Auckland city’s hungry pollinators.

The Bee Sanctuary team educate students with on-site workshops about the essential role pollinators play in ecosystems, our society and as a planet! These workshops have included several plantings, a seed bomb workshop, an insect hotel workshop, a seed saving workshop with For the Love of Bees, and collaborated with SFC’s ‘Free things for your flat’ event, providing flowering plants to students so they can create pollinator habitats in their own gardens.

Kings have supported the University of Auckland’s Bee Sanctuary with product donations, planting advice, and were recently invited to meet the team behind the community garden and see the inner-city gem that is surrounded by towering concrete buildings. Inside was a hive of activity with an inspiring group of students, committed to growing a habitat which can sustain a healthy insect population and provide a space for students to come and learn about a range of ecological processes through gardening. From learning about soil, seeds, pollinator plants, insect habitats, to composting and growing food, they hope that these initiatives will spark students interest in the rich possibilities of the outside world, and the role they can play as an integral part of this interconnected ecological system.

Five years ago, the group were given permission to use the site, and immediately got to work to bring their vision to life. To begin with there were huge mountains of abandoned rubbish and landfill, a jungle of established weeds and one large viburnum tree already buzzing with bees.

The site was cleared and tidied and over the last five years the team have planted native phormium tenax (flax), hoheria populnea (lacebark) and other bee magnets such as lavender, borage, heliotrope and antirrhinum (snapdragon). Kings most recent donation was used to plant up some newly created garden beds made from recycled fruit crates.

The group of students hold regular working bees- at the last one they created new raised beds, tables and chairs using old crates and recycled pallets. They face many challenges at this inner-city site, such as minimal maintenance over the summer months while the students are on their breaks as well as no access to a water source onsite, meaning all water for new plantings must be carried into the garden by hand.

The team are excited about their plans to develop the garden further, and we are thrilled that Kings will be a key partner to help them achieve their vision. They are now working on a partnership with the Compost Collective to become a hub for compost collection and production.

We came away from our visit feeling incredibly proud of these students, who are working together with a commitment to protecting our natural environment. The way they are using the space to not only create a habitat to feed the bees and other pollinators, but to also educate and inspire other students, is a huge credit to their drive and passion for the greater good of our planet. With this incredible group of young people leading the way, our countries future is looking bright (and green)!

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