News | 18 July 2023
Share on social

Finding friendship among the weeds

When Anne Tuffin retired five years ago, she saw it as the perfect opportunity to do some volunteer work in her favourite place – Trelissick Park. Little did she know, she would be randomly paired with a woman who would soon become a good friend, and the two of them would spend countless wonderful days working side by side.

Two women sitting on a bank doing volunteer work.
Anne Tuffin (top) and Joan Waldvogel (bottom).

As part of the Te Whai Oranga Open Space and Recreation strategy, Wellington City Council has been looking into how people use recreational space within the city and how they find their happy places in Pōneke.  
For Anne, her happy place has always been Trelissick Park.  
“I live close to one of the entrances of the park and used to walk through the park when I was working. I would just spend time in the bush and down by the river. It has always been one of my favourite spots.”  
It was only natural for her to volunteer with the Trelissick Park Group, which has been operating since 1990. The group welcomed her and allocated a steep section of the park that she could maintain with another volunteer named Joan. 

Person walking down a path in a gorge.

“Joan was already working down there regularly so I joined her on her spot. Together, we do the weeding, planting, tending to the paths and planting. It’s now our spot! 
“We can go down there whenever we like, and just work away and spend the whole time chatting. Joan is another retired woman, so we spend a lot of time together!” 
Five years of hard work has transformed the area, says Anne.  
“We know every inch of the area. We’re both incredibly proud of our spot and have planted dozens of native plants there. We nurture them throughout all the seasons. It’s a lot of fun.” 
Even though the work involves scaling steep banks, this doesn’t stop Anne. She does it for the friendship and to make the city a better place.  
“I think Joan keeps me going – it’s such a good friendship that’s developed. Sometimes we need to hold onto each other on the steep bits because we carry around our tools,” she laughs.  

A walkway in the middle of a park with lots of trees.

Anne feels lucky to live in Wellington, a place filled with amazing nature and biodiversity.  
“I just think Wellington is fantastic. Where else in the world can you look at your Parliament buildings and see hills covered in native bush behind it?  
“It’s the most amazing city in the world when it comes to regeneration of bush. There are so many groups like my group across the city who care for different areas. Every little gully has its own little group of people beavering away. The other thing is that the people that belong to groups like the Trelissick Park Group, they're passionate, dedicated, and committed to the work that they're doing.  
Thinking about the future, Anne really encourages people to think about volunteering.  
“My group has mainly retired people and we need young people that are strong and fit - because it's physical work! If you want this planet to be here for your children and your grandchildren, get involved. Get involved in restoring the planet to the way it used to be.”