A new urban vegetable garden has been opened on space gifted by the Compassion Soup Kitchen in Wellington to its guests.

The official opening of Te Māra, the new urban garden, on what has been described as a prime commercial site in Haining St, was on May 1. More than 100 people attended, including the Mayor of Wellington, Justin Lester.

Sisters of Compassion with one of the Soup Kitchen whanau and Eru (guest support worker).

Soup kitchen guests joined the Sisters of Compassion, tangata whenua and other guests to mark the establishment and completion of the first phase of building and planting the garden, which took place over summer.

One of the hopes for Te Māra is that it will be an oasis, away from the streets, yet in central Wellington, growing food that the sisters, whanau, staff, volunteers and anyone from the wider community who contribute can share.

The garden is part of a programme of activities to help local people.

Soup Kitchen He Rākau Koikoi — Purposeful activities programme Kaiārahi (leader) Matt Petrie told the Daily Encourager website that the urban garden is becoming a place of healing.

“For many people who come here they experience poor mental health, loneliness, isolation, depression, anxiety and low mood but by working on the garden some of those feelings start being removed.”

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