Visit to Pourewa māra kai gardens 6th October 2022 – a must see!

Matua Rob Small

Raised vegetable bed design from Germany

Māra rongoā Wellness Garden

Mara kai in winter before spring planting


Land cress which is edible with a peppery taste

Children's garden with silverbeet

Nine Remuera Heritage members braved the elements on the coldest, wettest and windiest day of the year to visit Ngāti Whātua’s Pourewa, the nursery development on Kepa Road, Ōrakei.

The māra kai was completed in June 2020 to a design that incorporated the mauri, wairua, tikanga and whakapapa of the land with a traditional sustainable horticultural and agricultural practice. No artificial fertilisers or weed killers are used. Composting is at the heart of the operation. Matua Rob Small who designed the botanic gardens at Manurewa in Auckland and Geelong in Australia explained the history and development of the different types of gardens:

  • Māra kai to grow fruit and vegetables
  • Māra rongoā / wellness garden to grow and prepare traditional healthy and healing plants
  • Māra harakeke – weavers garden of harakeke / flax
  • Māra Tupuna – ancestors’ kumara garden

All the māra kai are circular in design according to the 30 houses of māramataka, the lunar calendar, which links seasonal shifts of the earth and moon with productive cycles to ensure the garden is in sync with the natural patterns unique to this area.  All paths are aligned to the north, south, east and west.

Pourewa nursery produces 300,000 plants a year which are native to Tāmaki Makaurau and supplied to Auckland Council’s One Million Trees programme, to the Tupuna Maunga Authority, and Waka Kotahi. There are 8 hectares of gardens on the 33 hectare site, which will include a native forest. The aim is to preserve traditional practices and to “move from fast food to slow food”. Food sovereignty, knowing where food comes from and how it is grown is also important. All the food is distributed for free to iwi and whanau, and the City Mission. There is also a research, teaching and education programme.

Pourewa is open to the public. As part of the Auckland Climate Festival, there is an Open Day on Saturday 15th October from 10am to 2pm. Rob Small will do a guided tour at 10.30am and 12.30pm.

Well worth a visit!    See

NB: This is at Pourewa on Kepa Road, NOT Purewa Cemetery on Remuera Rd

Published 7th October 2022