The end of an era at the Wilton St Community Garden

WILTON ST COMMUNITY GARDEN update first appeared in Ponsonby News 

A very special era has come to an end at the Wilton Street Community Garden. Sarah Guppy who took over coordinating the garden from founder Mandy McMillan writes about why the time has come to move on from this wonderful community hub.

For over five years the Wilton Street Community garden has transformed a piece of land behind the Gypsy Tea Room in West Lynn.  All good things come to an end, and like the seasons, this garden is preparing for the next chapter. I’ve decide to move on from the garden after many wonderful years. Energy, time, desire, community, all these things are needed to keep the garden going.

If the garden could talk it would make a fascinating book, or a long fireside conversation. During the flourishing of the garden many communities used the space for meetings, birthday parties, Christmas gatherings, workshops on compost making, council discussion on compost and community gardens, fruit tree plans for Grey Lynn Park, soil testing, campaign rallies, the children’s garden for butterflies and lizards, barbeques for anniversaries, and the devotion of 100s of hours of volunteer gardening.

These are some of the activities undertaken through goodwill and community support:

  • ‘Closed for Good’ BNZ Community project (volunteers helped clear the site)
  • Picket fence donated by Silver Fern Landscapes
  • Water tank donated by ‘Tanks a lot’
  • Downpipe diverter given by John and Brenda to bring water from the Gypsy Tea Room roof to the water tank
  • Two macrocarpa boxes for raised bed made and installed by Peter Nuske.
  • Pallets collected and made into compost stalls
  • Bricks given from a chimney for making beds
  • Wood chips donated from a tree fella
  • Food waste regularly brought to the community compost from local cafes and residents
  • Western Bays Community Board funding for picnic tables and plants
  • Grass clippings from lawn mowing man for compost
  • Plants donated by strangers
  • Wilton Street Community Garden honey sold at the Grey Lynn Farmers Market

During our time there was only one event of vandalism.  A banana tree was uprooted and thrown into the street some years ago. We planted it again, and not only did it take root, but this summer it produced the most beautiful lemon tasting bananas!

I would like to acknowledge the dedication of the founders, Mandy McMulllin and Dave Gilbert who gave tirelessly to establish a special place for all creatures great and small.

Thanks to the friends who worked in the garden Adele, Margo, Peter, Vonney, Angela, Kate, Jane, Sally, Dean, Terry, Tom, Ruben, Carol and her bees and many people travelling and passing through  who visited to learn from the community .

The new owners of the old Wine Vault shop Jody and Stuart (now the Crow Pop up shop)  and Brett from Gypsy Tea Room generously allow the garden to continue on their land. Plans are underway for the next chapter to involve local children in the joy of gardening. Volunteers are always welcome.

Sarah Guppy (

Thanks to everyone for their support –Sarah Guppy (

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Plastic Bag Free Auckland

Susanna Stoddart and her GLFM bagThis article first appeared in the June edition of Ponsonby News 

Grey Lynn 2030 Waste Away (GLWA) is an action group of Grey Lynn 2030 comprised of passionate locals tackling issues around waste minimisation and education, particularly in our area.   We have been called “Eco Ninjas” which is a pseudonym we feel perfectly reflects our mission to save the planet!

In May members of our group attended a Plastic Bag Free Auckland public meeting at the Grey Lynn Community Centre.  Denise Roche MP from the Green Party hosted the meeting, along with Steph Borrelle who is a marine biologist here in Auckland.  This gathering brought people together from across Auckland to discuss how we can join other progressive cities around the globe and become plastic bag free.   As Steph so eloquently put it, “Chaos has not ensued, people have coped and the world has gone on, just with less plastic bags.”

It was surprising to learn that the first country to enforce a strict ban was Bangladesh in 2002 after two thirds of the country was submerged in water from floods caused by plastic bags blocking waterways and sewerage systems.

Recently Steph initiated an on-line petition calling for Auckland to Ban the Bag.  GLWA supports this initiative and we urge everyone to take a moment to sign and share through social media.  The petition here “Mayor Len Brown Ban the Bag.” There is also a petition at the Grey Lynn Farmers Market.

Building on the Grey Lynn Farmers Market move towards zero waste to landfill, the GLWA is keen to get involved with helping the West Lynn shopping precinct go plastic bag free this “Plastic Free July.”  During this month we encourage everyone to refuse single-use and take the pledge to:  remember your own shopping bags, reusable coffee cups and reusable drink bottles. 

Mark Thursday, 31st July in your diary.  For the last day of Plastic Free July GLWA would like all shops in our area to provide an alternative for customers to plastic shopping bags.  This is your opportunity to embrace the concept of a Plastic Shopping Bag Free Auckland and feel good knowing you haven’t used an item that will take 1000 years to degrade.

You can find GLWA at the Grey Lynn Farmers Market every week (except the last Sunday of the month) to offer advice and provide answers to environmental questions.  We also have a range of items for sale including bokashi buckets, string bags and ideal cups. To learn more check out  and Facebook “Grey Lynn Waste Away.”  Our meetings are held on the first Tuesday of every month at the Grey Lynn RSC.   We welcome new members to get involved with our action group working together towards a greener, more resilient neighbourhood.

Lisa Cohen-Smith

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Bag it movie night celebrating Plastic Bag Free July

Bag it movie posterGrey Lynn 2030 Waste Away is screening the award winning movie Bag it

Thursday 17  July

Grey Lynn Community Centre


Koha entry includes nibbles

Celebrating Plastic Bag Free July




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Submit to save the 6 pohutukawas on Great North Rd

St Lukes interchange tree removal

Proposals to widen Great North Road on the approach to the St Lukes overbridge and motorway interchange threaten 6 mature pohutukawa trees on the road opposite MOTAT. The resource consent application has been publicly notified and submissions can be made until Thursday 3 July. To make it easy for people to make a submission as The Tree Council has prepared a simple version that you can cut and paste to suit your own views. Download the simple submission here. It contains all the details and links you will need.

The photo right shows the trees and what is proposed for widening Great North Road. Read more here about the overall project on Transport Blog  and an update from NZTA reported on Transport Blog.

Submission page on the Auckland Council website

Sign the petition 

And there is a Facebook page to save the trees too

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Plastic Free July – plastic bag free day in Grey Lynn 31 July

Plastic Free July #5 (2)As part of Plastic Free July Grey Lynn 2030 waste away is asking local retailers to go plastic bag free on Thursday 31 July. We’d love to see the local community avoid single use plastic items.

Campaign for plastic bag free Auckland Gathers Steam

Sign the petition here




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The Open Toy Box in Grey Lynn

The Open Toy Library Grey LynnCommunity notice

The Open Toy Box, often also called “the Grey Lynn Toy Library”, was set up in 1995 by a group of parents within Grey Lynn. We are a not-for-profit organisation with charitable status and are a part of the Toy Library Federation of New Zealand.  Our library is managed and staffed by our members, who work as volunteers, and by our paid librarians who run our lending sessions. Over the years membership has ranged between 90 and 140 families.   We are funded through our members subscription fees, fundraising activities and grants that we apply for to help raise any additional money we need to maintain and improve our selection of toys, pay for our librarians, our rent on the use of our premises and our other running costs.
There are three types of membership: rostered, full subscription or community services card (CSC).
Rostered and CSC members work in the library on 3 sessions during the year.  You help to check in returned toys, keep the shelves tidy and do various odd jobs to help us keep the library running.  Rostered duties are a fantastic way to see all the toys on offer in the library, to meet other people in your community, and to get to see how the library works.  One of the perks of working a duty is that you can set aside for your own loan any toy that takes your fancy as it comes in through the returns desk.
The membership structure is as follows.  You pay the amount listed in the month you join, and that buys you membership until we close at the end of November:
fee structure
*Rostered & CSC Members do volunteer duties during the year.  A $30 fine is charged for each duty defaulted.
St Columba Church Hall, 92 Surrey Crescent, Grey Lynn, Auckland.
Wed 9.30am – 11am and Sat 9.30am – 11:30am.

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