Dear neighbours and NZ Gardener family,
Our April issue should be with our subscribers now and available in supermarkets and service stations (having been distributed prior to the lockdown restrictions). Whether or not it's on the stands yet is a bit patchy ... but then the incredibly brave and hard-working supermarket staff have quite a bit on their plate right now so I understand if there is a delay! Please, please, please everyone ... don't go out to buy it! Normally of course we love you buying NZ Gardener but right now it's far more important that you stay home and stay safe. (You can buy a copy with your online shopping though! That's safe and I think we are all in the market for something uplifting to read right now).
In this issue we offered to send out sweet pea seeds to any reader who sent us a SSAE. Just to reassure you, we will still send out sweet pea seeds to any reader who is keen to participate. We are just not quite sure when! Ignore the dates in the magazine of when you needed to send the envelope in by - that has been indefinitely extended. But we cannot wait to send you the seed and for those flowers to bloom as by then we will be well through this or even have it behind us. And keep letting us know what you are sowing and growing, send in pictures of your harvest, your flowers or what you are sharing.
We always love hearing from NZ Gardener readers but now when we are all staying apart that connection means more than you can imagine. Stay home, stay safe and stay in touch everyone. For the most updated gardening advice, subscribe to our digital e-zine Get Growing, which will be delivered to your inbox completely free.
It’s Samoa Language Week, a chance for us to celebrate the rich culture, identity and language of our Samoan community. This year’s theme is ‘Tapena sou ōso mo lau malaga', which in English means ‘Prepare yourself a gift for your travels’, urging us to prepare for the road ahead.
I can’t think of a more fitting theme for our region at this time. Our diversity is a strength that will continue to guide us in our path to post-COVID recovery.
GW’s role in parks and environmental management is returning to pre-COVID capacity, with a few changes to keep our people and community safe.
One council function that continues to look quite different is public transport. This week, we released two videos describing how to travel safely on public transport and Metlink school buses. I encourage you to watch them, and share them with your own networks. If we all stick to the guidelines, we can keep Wellington moving smoothly and safely.
Manuia le vaiaso (have a good week) and kia kaha
Chair, Greater Wellington Regional Council
Travel on public transport and Metlink school buses under Alert Level 2
If you’ve been keeping an eye our Metlink Facebook page, you might have seen two new videos launched this week outlining how to keep safe on public transport and Metlink school services.
All Metlink passengers
If you’re using the bus, train or ferry during COVID-19 Alert Level 2, this video tells you what you need to know.
• Follow the physical distancing guidelines
• Enter buses through the front door
• Tag on and tag off with Snapper as normal
• If you can avoid traveling at peak times due to reduced capacity
• Keep a record of your travel at Alert Level 2
• Wash your hands before and after
• Don’t travel if you feel sick
Parents, caregivers and students
Now that we’ve moved to Alert Level 2, schools have reopened and Metlink’s School Bus Service is resuming. Things aren’t quite back to normal though, so if you or your child travel on a Metlink school bus, this video outlines what’s different.
Here’s a recap of what parents, caregivers and students should know:
• Children can sit next to each other as normal but standing isn’t permitted
• Because of this capacity will be reduced, so prepare a Plan B in case the bus is already full
• Make sure the students understand hygiene and physical distancing requirements to keep everyone safe
• Let them know they need to keep their distance from the driver
• There’s hand santiser to use on the buses
• Schools are prepared, too:
o Schools will have a register of students on each bus to help with contact tracing if it’s needed
o Schools understand physical distancing and hygiene requirements and can assist
You’ll find more information on the Metlink website or you can call 0800 801 700.
Thank you for being kind, considerate, and understanding as we work within the guidelines set out to keep everyone safe.
More details to come on Jumbotron at Wellington Railway Station
Keen commuters passing through the Wellington Railway Station may have noticed a new jumbotron (giant LED screen) in the centre of the station.
Currently, this screen is showing COVID-19 messaging, but look out for more info from us next week, when we officially launch the jumbotron along with a range of audio and visual improvements around the station which will better inform passengers about their journeys and safety.
Restrictions on park gatherings amended in-line with new guidelines
Last week, we announced that regional parks are reopening most of their amenities, including toilets, BBQs and camping facilities, with appropriate cleaning and physical distancing measures in place.
There are also no longer restrictions on recreational activities such as camping, motorised recreation, hunting, or horse riding.
As of Friday 29 May, gatherings within our parks can be expanded beyond 10 people. This is in-line with new Level 2 guidelines announced by the central government on Monday.
Please continue to keep Alert Level 2 principles in mind though:
• Everyone needs to be able to maintain a safe distance from people outside of their group - please be considerate and keep your gatherings to a sensible size, so there’s room for everyone
• You still need to keep a record of where you’ve been, and with whom, for contract tracing purposes
• Wash or sanitise your hands before and after touching gates, locks and other high-touch surfaces
• Stay home if you’re unwell
Our volunteer groups are also back in action this week! Thanks to our Park Rangers for helping transition these essential groups back into the parks.
Park Ranger offices are still officially closed, but if you see a Ranger or volunteer around, keep your conversations short and at a 2-metre distance. Remember that you can call 0800 496 734 for any park related inquiries.
University of Auckland’s COVID-19 stress and health study
The University of Auckland’s Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences is conducting a nation-wide COVID-19 Stress and Health study to explore how the pandemic is affecting the physical and mental wellbeing of New Zealanders. The study has been approved by the AHREC (ethics committee).
Professors Elizabeth Broadbent and Norina Gasteiger are recruiting participants over the age of 18 and living in NZ.
If you’d like to participate in the study, or find out more, visit: www.covidstressstudy.com...
Kia ora Hawkes Bay, it's time to dust off that old camera, get out and about and show the rest of your neighbours your favourite, treasured spots in your region. It could be an awesome view, the shy wildlife or even the old buildings that are wanting their stories to be told.
Go ahead, get snapping and illustrate what's beyond your backyard.
Post your photographs in the comments below ⬇