Good Sorts: Women restoring their hometown with plants, community spirit

Tonight’s Good Sorts are Carina McNie and Donna Journeaux for their work restoring parts of their hometown of Raetihi, in the Manawatū-Whanganui region.

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Corine McNie and Donna Journeaux were nominated for their work in restoring parts of their hometown, but they also restored community spirit. Source: 1 NEWS

McNie owns her own plant nursery. She grew her passion for plants into community spirit after Journeaux asked to buy some of her plants seven years ago.

Journeaux wanted to do up the town’s riverside after receiving funding.

While McNie was meant to supply the plants and leave, she instead stayed to provide a helping hand.

“Carina and I became a team after that,” Journeaux said.

Carina McNie and Donna Journeaux. Source: 1 NEWS

The pair even talked the town’s digger drivers into helping out.

It took them two years to complete the revamp - a nature walk complete with a BMX track.

“I wanted the challenge. I wanted to see if I could create something,” McNie said.

"They didn't think we were up to it," Journeaux added.

But after that, the pair kept going.

They've since created a fairy walk, which has been added to by the locals over the years.

Then they discovered a place the town had long since forgotten - an area which was once the local picnic spot in the 1950s and ‘60s.

The Makatoku Walk was once known as a local picnic spot back in the 1950s and '60s. Source: 1 NEWS

It’s since been given new life as art began popping up and the town’s one swimming hole grew to three or four. 

The further along the women went, the more help they received.

“We want to create areas where people can stop, grab an ice cream and go for a walk,” McNie said.

Families have sponsored parts of the town’s rejuvenation, while the local regional council came in with funding.

Now, when McNie and Journeaux call for help, half the town shows up.

They’ve even had all the local schools get in on the action.

Helper Shavaughn says it's “all about helping the environment and getting a better lifestyle for Raetihi”.

Local school children helping out with the revamp in Raetihi. Source: 1 NEWS

Even the town’s criminals have got involved.

Shaun, who runs the local community service for Corrections, calls it “worthwhile work” and they “can look back on it later in life”. 

“We wouldn’t have been able to do it without their help,” Journeaux said.

It now takes an hour to walk the length of what is called the Makatoku Walk.

The Makatoku Walk, near the Makatoku River. Source: 1 NEWS

After six years, the pair have built a place for the community to come together.

“It isn't a small job, no, but it's a very rewarding job,” she said.