Welcome to asert – Tatou Development Trust

Vision: This project is to build a nursery for the growth of the hidden talents in Tātou, us all.

asert will invite those, for whom there are currently no opportunities to participate in positive physical activity, into our programme of; learning by doing and training for work.

The Project: asert, in partnership with Whitireia Community Polytechnic, facilitates a training and work environment in which disadvantaged and at risk young people are given an opportunity to learn the life skills of: growing food and acquiring an income in a sustainable way.

Garden name: the “Te Rito Garden”. The flax bush is known in Māori as “te pā harakeke”, meaning “the family of flax”, using “pā” to call up the image of family and whānau. The outer layers of the flax are symbolic of the “outer” members of a family; the inner leaves are symbolic of the parents; and the heart of the flax bush (“rito”) symbolizes the child, being kept safe and nurtured by the whānau.

The Tutors: Hannah Zwartz, Are Karati, Dave Treadwell, Ian McClean, and Stella Bridge are all experienced in organic horticulture and specialise in different areas of the discipline.

The purpose:  is to empower participants with the skills and knowledge which will lead to a career in the horticultural sector. Achieving this, participants will gain their independence and have the confidence to “go forward” into work through employment or as a stakeholder in our own enterprise (Te Rito Organics).

The role of asert – Tātou Development Trust: Our role is to manage the logistics of this community-based course. We also aim to assist those in the course (even those who may have difficulty with the academic side of the process) to find employment, become part of our own food growing business        (Te Rito Organics Limited) or start their own small business after completing the course.

The target group are: those 17 years and older who are disadvantaged – by a health related disability, they may have no skills for employment, may have a poor or no academic record, may be intellectually impaired, may have poor english language skills, are affected by head injury or stroke. The Trust is looking for those unemployed, on sickness or invalid’s benefit who are motivated to gain a place in the productive workplace.

For those thinking about joining us: All you need is an enthusiasm to learn about growing organic food in a “hands on” and sustainable way along with the hope of a healthier, richer future.

Self–Sustainingasert - Tātou Development Trust aims to become self-sustaining before 2015. This will be achieved with income from our business operations though “Te Rito Organics Limited”. This limited liability company will provide a work-place for graduates and an income for the educational and self development programme at Te Rito Gardens.

The Course:

The qualification is administrated and moderated by Whitireia Community Polytechnic and is uniquely named: Te Rito – Certificate in Horticulture and Landscaping, level 2 (PR4602).The asert – Tātou Development Trust accepts Tātou (all people) from throughout the greater Wellington, Hutt Valley and Kapiti regions. Each participant is required to make their own commitment to the course and take responsibility for their actions. Acceptance into the programme will largely depend on attitude rather than previous academic achievement.

The prime objective is to grow organic food sustainably. Along the way participants learn about; health and safety, Māori culture and te reo Māori, curving, organic certification, compost making, soil structures, worm farming, cultivating the soil, seed sowing, growing from cuttings, planting fruit trees, the safe and efficient use of tools and machinery, building small structures (seed raising frames/raised garden beds), harvesting crops, traditional Māori practices of land use, record keeping and marketing produce. Each food crop is chosen with regard to its suitability to the location. The skill of growing food is the most important one which asert – Tātou Development Trust will teach, encourage and promote.

Participant’s requirements: . If a person has not succeeded in finding meaningful employment, then that person is disadvantaged. He or she is welcome to apply for inclusion in the project. Students need to be their own decision makers and will be expected to be responsible for their own actions. The application form will be signed with regard to; respect of others and of the environment. The declaration reads: “I will ensure that every person who participates with or relates to the Te Rito Gardens programme and the land we care for is treated with the utmost respect”.

Whitireia Community Polytechnic: allows no smoking, alcohol or drugs to be used within the buildings and garden area. Smoking is allowed ONLY during the breaks, outside of the “Te Rito Gardens” site.

asert – Tātou Development Trust supports this stance and encourages a healthy lifestyle for all.

Programme structure:  The course runs for 18 weeks over two terms with one week work experience during the eighteenth week. The hours are: Monday to Friday, 9am – 3pm, most of this time will be spent in the workshop or the gardens.

Some of the students’ time will be spent with our business: Te Rito Organics Limited. The Trust runs this company in order to cover some of the running costs of the “Te Rito Gardens programme”. This will be part of the participant’s training and will give valuable experience in the business of growing organic food. This will give participants experience in a “real” work situation and encourage a strong work ethic in the work-place (horticulture, landscaping and garden maintenance).

Cost: The tuition fee is nil. All tools and safety equipment will be provided by the Trust.

Personal equipment required: Stationery, hat, gloves, leather safety boots and a good quality raincoat.

Sponsorships and Funding: Partnerships with all agencies and charities working in the area will be encouraged.  Funding for the Trust will be sought from Charitable Trusts, government agencies, business or individual sponsorship/donations, the participants and their family/support network. The Trust’s business operations though “Te Rito Organics Limited” will, in time become the main provider of funding.

Working and learning environment: A positive, helpful and supportive environment is encouraged. Due to the “hands on” nature of the project and safety issues, enforcement of a basic code of conduct will be required. Time management, positive social interaction and team-work will be encouraged.


Newsletter March 2011

The newsletter for March 2011 has been published. It can be viewed here.


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