Of urban planning students and feijoas

16 June 2017
704 Group Feijoa Comp photo winner composite
The students' winning work

From mid-March until early June feijoa season officially occurs, and this is the time of year when fans of the fruit devour them with relish. Found all over the country, this hardy plant originating from South America, arrived here in the 1900s.

Recently Masters of Urban Planning students from the University of Auckland helped celebrate all things small, green and feijoa, while also learning about community engagement and urban edibles.

The postgraduates are enrolled in the course URBPLAN 704: People, Communities and Urban Planning, co-ordinated by Professor Dory Reeves from the School of Architecture and Planning.

As part of the paper, which consists of critical analysis of urban social issues and relevant urban planning responses, they met local city centre residents’ group The Feijoa Guild, and learnt a lot along the way.

The Guild are responsible for the planting and maintenance of a feijoa ‘forest’ in the inner city, that was established to celebrate the fruit, while also encouraging apartment dwellers to get together in outdoor activity.

Inner city organisation Splice is the umbrella group for the Feijoa Guild, and together they hold an annual festival in celebration of the tasty green fruit and community connections called A Most Unanticipated Feijoa Festival.

As part of the Feijoa Festival, a photo contest was held with the theme the Neighbourhood Feijoa: a photographic study of small green fruit, judged by Chris van Ryn of Freestyle Photography.

Armed with their phones, the urban planning students took part in the photo contest and won the group award with their entry.

“The Auckland city centre is a neighbourhood of many communities and with Splice working with the students around public space investigations, it was great to further the relationships into the feijoa-fuelled fabric of local community connection,” says Mik Smellie of Splice.

With the season just ended there is some time to wait before feijoas reappear. Until then, if you’re in the city centre, see if you can locate the feijoa ‘forest,’ in anticipation of next year’s crop.