When the Ieru family moved last November from Monte Cecilia Housing Trust’s centre in Mangere to a home of their own in Manurewa, they took with them a garden pack and the skills they had learnt.

In no time, June and Maisa had a garden full of cabbages and lettuce, bok choy and pumpkins. Their efforts won them a $200 prize in a competition run by Monte Cecilia among eight former clients of the Mangere centre. The families were given starter packs of garden tools, compost and seeds. While living at the centre, they were taught gardening skills as part of the Let’s Beat Diabetes programme, with a focus on health and sustainability.