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Meaningful connections with the Chinese community

Designer and Te Hōnonga a Iwi volunteer Ashley Han says being part of the Rosedale Park restoration project is a great opportunity for the local Chinese community to feel a sense of belonging to this area and to integrate with the wider community.

Ashley plays an important role in raising awareness of the restoration with local Chinese families, helping to build and maintain the project website, translating newsletters, flyers and social media posts and building communication between the project team and the Chinese community.

She believes getting more local Chinese involved with the project will bring several benefits.

“Participating in a community restoration project fosters a sense of belonging and integration within the larger community. It provides an opportunity for Chinese residents to connect with other community members and build meaningful relationships.”

Additionally, it promotes cultural exchange, she says, between the Chinese community and the local Māori and broader New Zealand communities, enhancing mutual understanding and respect.

“Collaborating on a project with diverse groups encourages friendship and collaboration, promoting unity and a sense of working together for a common goal.”

There is also the opportunity for intergenerational connections within the Chinese community, with youth and elders coming together to share their knowledge and wisdom, she says.

Ashley, originally from China, is now a New Zealand citizen living in Rosedale. She has two part-time jobs; one is assisting the Eden Park Facility Team to manage and update its electronic assets and the other is working remotely for a payment solution startup as a product designer.

But when she saw the call for volunteers for Te Hōnonga a Iwi, she made time in an already busy schedule to help out.

“I just love connecting with the natural world and have a passion for outdoor activities. Rosedale Park is in my beautiful neighbourhood. I appreciate for the beauty and tranquility the park brings to the community and I want to help preserve and protect this precious natural space.

“For me, it's a way to give back and strengthen our community bonds. I'm interested in learning more about the local ecosystem and the environmental issues facing my area. Volunteering can be an educational opportunity and I hope my involvement can inspire others to volunteer and contribute to the restoration project.”

Ashley says most of her spare time is spent taking her two children out to explore different places. “We enjoy biking, bushwalking, camping, and making the most of our family time.”

It’s important to her to be a good role model for her children, ensuring they understand that protecting the environment is essential for the wellbeing of all life on Earth.

“It has far-reaching consequences for health, sustainability, and the preservation of natural beauty. As such, it is a shared responsibility that requires action at individual, community, national, and international levels.”

Environmental protection is not just about stopping harm; it’s also about restoring and regenerating damaged ecosystems, Ashley says. “Our project uses biological methods, not sprays, to increase soil health and ensure plant survival and growth. These efforts can lead to a more resilient and biodiverse planet.”

Ashley says the people are the best part of the restoration project and she really enjoys being part of the Te Hōnonga a Iwi communications team, getting a sense of pride from helping to maintain and improve a valuable public resource.

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