IMPACT Students Support Taranaki Predator Free Efforts During Term3

At the start of Term 3 the Impact Facilitators started working alongside Oranga Tamariki, Devon Intermediate, Activity Centre and Manukorihi School. The recent launch of Restore Taranaki and Towards Predator Free Taranaki had the young people eager to get involved in conservation focused projects.  

Devon Intermediate students began their project with a rubbish clean up around the school grounds.  They had a field trip to the Community Resource Recovery Centre to learn about recycling and afterward decided to make an eco-brick structure.  They took the rubbish that they had collected from the school grounds to make the eco-bricks - plastic bottles filled up with soft plastics to form a hard brick. With these they created a rubbish bin sculpture.  The rubbish bin sculpture and installed bin is to be placed in an area identified by the students as a litter problem area, in the hope to reduce the amount of rubbish dropped. 

Activity Centre were very busy this term with a focus on Back Beach.  The students where shocked by the amount of rubbish that ends up in our oceans and wanted to help. They planned a beach clean up at Back Beach to pick up the litter.  They went one step further in creating an educational sign for the carpark area to ''Keep NZ Clean". They also supported the Restore Taranaki project by writing to the New Plymouth District Council and bringing donated Paritutu specific native Harakeke that they planted. 

The students from Manukorihi Intermediate showed a lot of interest in the recreational hunting in their area and how this can have a positive impact on their natural environment. Their project focused on predator trapping to support the Taranaki Regional Councils Towards Predator Free Taranaki goals. They upcycled some real estate advertising signs to make tracking tunnels around the school and then used this information to learn what types of predators were in the area and identified which areas were best to set traps.  The group set up five traps around their school grounds as well as native planting to help grow their nature areas. The school have also collected 100 traps for the students to build and sell for their community, these proceeds go towards further environmental initiatives within the School. 

Sustainable Taranaki Impact program partnered with Oranga Tamariki for the first time during Term 3.  The partnership has been a great success with five young people taking part in the Impact Program. They learnt about the Towards Predator Free Taranaki project and explored the pest trapping work being done around Pukekura Park with Taranaki Regional Council staff. The group decided to help with predator trapping at the Katere Ki-Te-Moana Marae, so they made some tracking tunnels and identified that rats and mice were present in the area. They built the traps themselves and set them out in the orchard area.  They also planted pear trees and a feijoa to contribute to the space. 

A huge thanks to the Taranaki Regional Council for all of their support around Predator Trapping and meeting with the young people engaged in the program.  Thank you also go out to New Plymouth District Council for support with native tree planting at the Back Beach Reserve, Katere Ki-Te Moana Marae for welcoming us into your space and by so supportive of the youth project.

We also really appreciate all the support from school staff members and local residents who support all of the young people in achieving their projects, we are always amazed at their creativity and dedication to taking positive environmental and sustainable action. 

Young People Contribute to Making Taranaki Predator Free 

Press Release – 25 September 2018 

For Immediate Release 

Oranga Tamariki has teamed up with the Sustainable Taranaki IMPACT program for the first time this term. Young people being supported by Oranga Tamariki through the Youth Justice system have chosen to become part of the IMPACT program, and with IMPACT’s support have chosen to help Towards Predator-Free Taranaki, a region-wide project supporting biodiversity. Working with a New Plymouth Marae, they have been busy creating upcycled trapping tunnels and learning all about what they can do to help restore and protect native wildlife and plants in their local area. 

The Sustainable Taranaki IMPACT program supports young people to generate and initiate their own local sustainability projects. IMPACT teaches them team building skills as well as growing their individual strengths while they work together to design and implement the project they’ve initiated.  

The group of rangatahi supported by Oranga Tamariki has chosen to create practical pest management solutions at Katere Ki-Te-Moana Marae in Waiwhakaiho. “It’s great that the young people have chosen to get involved, focusing on something they all agree is important in their own backyard. This means that they really get to own the project, see it through and can see the impacts of it at every stage,” says Laine Phillips, IMPACT Coordinator. 

Oranga Tamariki Youth Justice Social Worker Tess Carter says the program has been a fabulous opportunity for the young people to be involved in something that makes them accountable for their offending whilst giving back to their community.  

“It has also been beneficial for our young people to make connections with Katere Ki-Te-Moana Marae, who have been very supportive of this project by sharing their knowledge and resources. IMPACT has helped our young people gain community and environmental awareness, whilst fostering individual strengths.” 

“The rangatahi have particularly enjoyed learning about the impact of pests on our environment; the protocols and tikanga of the Marae, as well as the practical activities they have been involved in,” says Tess. 

An entire pest management plan has been developed by the young people through the Sustainable Taranaki-Oranga Tamariki partnership. Starting with a field trip to Pukekura Park to check trap lines with one of Taranaki Regional Council’s Environment Officers, the rangatahi then made tracking tunnels from recycled real estate signs and placed them at Katere Marae to monitor pest levels and locations. The data collected from the tunnels was then used to plan a pest trapping program at the Marae.  

On 26 October Sustainable Taranaki, Oranga Tamariki, Ngāti Tawhirikura and Taranaki Regional Council will be celebrating the outcomes of this group of young people and their great work creating practical pest management solutions at a New Plymouth marae. The youth will lead a tour of the developed pest traps and fruit trees donated and planted in the Marae gardens.

Oranga Tamariki Youth Justice Manager for Taranaki, Trudi Baker, says the project is a wonderful collaboration that enables the young people to learn about environmental sustainability, and then engage in a relevant project that connects them to their local community.   

“We have seen some enormous benefits for the young people as it has given them a sense of achievement whilst developing some practical and leadership skills.  We look forward to continuing our relationship with Sustainable Taranaki into the future.”

August 1st 2018 is Earth Overshoot Day - This Year We Will Use 1.7 Earths, Globally

Earth Overshoot Day marks the date each year when we have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the entire year.

This year Earth Overshoot Day is Wednesday 1st August, the earliest date in human history.  Each year scientists at the Global Footprint Network calculate the date using our demand for available resources and services, compared with the Earth’s capacity to absorb our wastes. They then calculate the number of days of this year that Earth can provide for our global human Ecological Footprint within its natural limits.

The date is occurring earlier each year: last year it was August 3rd. For 2018, after 1st August we are using stocks of ecological resources and accumulating our waste for future generations to deal with.  This happens through overfishing, overharvesting forests, and emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than ecosystems can absorb, for example.

For the rest of the year, we’re effectively in ecological deficit, since we can’t import more resources to the planet. By the end of the year, globally we will have used up the equivalent of 1.7 Earths. If we continue on this course Global Footprint Network data show that we would need two Earths by 2030 to keep up with our level of resource demand.

“Worryingly, the planet’s budget is now in deficit. But there are so many every day things we can do to use resources more efficiently, and help move that date forward,” says Kati Freeman, General Manager of Sustainable Taranaki.

“We want to congratulate all the Taranaki residents and organisations who are valuing Earth’s valuable resources and getting more use from the things we’ve already produced – the opshops, second hand boutiques, kids markets, tool hire companies, and organisations focused on environmental stewardship.”

Sustainable Taranaki believes that by reducing our use of resources we can live better quality lives and also save money, as well as having less of an ecological impact.

Here are some simple ways we can do this:

  • Use less new resources, and make use of things that have already been produced from valuable resources.
  • Buy good quality items that last, and look after them really well, maintaining them, getting them serviced and repairing or fixing them if they break down or get damaged, rather than automatically buying a replacement.
  • Start sharing: loan a tool you don’t use often to your family, friends or neighbours, or hire something if you’re only going to use it once or twice a year.  Most power drills are used for an average of 12 minutes across their lifetime, for example, so can easily be shared.
  • Use resources more efficiently in our own households. A second car, for example, can be avoided by using the bus or biking or walking, which also saves thousands annually on household costs, as well as reducing your contribution to climate change.
  • Buy things second hand. There are some great opshops, high end second hand clothes shops, buy and sell Facebook groups, Kids Markets and garage sales to support, or set up a clothes swap with friends.
  • Get creative when giving presents. Choose to give experiences over things.
  • Substitute shopping for fun with having satisfying experiences with friends and family in beautiful places.
  • Buy products that have recycled content in them, like recycled content copy paper, which avoids new trees being cut down to make virgin paper.

“While these are simple steps to take, they all add up to helping reduce our ecological impact, and moving the date of our ecological overshoot globally,” encourages Freeman.

For more information about Earth Overshoot Day visit:


Sustainable Backyards Trail 2018 has been launched!

Sustainable Backyards Trail 2018 website - now live!

We are excited to announce that Taranaki Sustainable Backyards Trail 2018 website is now LIVE! Check out this year's fabulous line up of family, marae and community gardens that are opening their doors to inspire us with their creativity, innovation and dedication to living a more sustainable lifestyle.

'Living the Change' Documentary Acknowledgements, Photos and Presentation

Thank you to all who joined us for an evening of inspiration, networking and discussion on the sustainable future possible for Taranaki on the 31st of May. In collaboration with Taranaki Conservationists, the screening of the recently-launched New Zealand documentary ‘Living the Change’ was a great success with over 220 people in attendance. This turnout was beyond our expectations, filling The Mayfair with loads of great energy and buzzing conversations. A big thank you to all of our speakers and supporters and particularly to our local stallholders who shared with our attendees all of the inspiring community-based initiatives that are taking place right here in Taranaki. 

This event was a great example of what can be achieved through collaboration and a good sign of the support and audience that is hungry to meet face-to-face for inspiring events!

Thank you to our speakers, Jamie Silk and Dee Turner, as well as our MC and Kati Freeman, General Manager of Sustainable Taranaki. Sam Mortenson from Taranaki Conservationists played a big role in making everything come together from start to finish. Also, thanks to Erin for the behind the scenes organisation, Laine for the slide show and Katie from Geosync for capturing the magic on the night.

Thanks again to all who attended or showed their support.

"You have helped us step into another phase of our work to support a groundswell of support for a sustainable future for Taranaki." - Kati Freeman

Read the Stuff Article highlighting the event
View the photos that captured the magic on the night

Jo Wills returns to hometown to lead warm homes workshops

Jo Wills from Sustainability Options is returning to share her knowledge and experience with Taranaki residents to help them live in warmer and healthier homes. 

Jo has been working in the sustainability sector for over a decade, with over 5 years focused on housing through her role with social business Sustainability Options.  Jo also volunteers for Trade Aid NZ as a trustee and shop assistant, with English Language Partners as a home tutor for immigrants, and is a regular blogger about climate change, housing, veganism, business and transport.

Jo is trained in The Natural Step, a science based framework for sustainability. She was also part of the team to develop the Home Performance Advisor training programme and continues to co-manage the delivery of this nationwide. She is trained in the WoF (warrant of fitness) for homes through the Otago University and has been piloting the Homefit standard with the New Zealand Green Building Council.  Jo is active in the delivery of housing assessments and community workshops with a focus on improving the performance of housing to achieve better health outcomes for families in New Zealand.  

Through the delivery of assessments and community workshops, Jo is at the coalface of housing in New Zealand, working with existing homes, rental properties and owner occupied.  Jo is also project managing a social housing build in Rotorua with Sustainability Options. The purpose of the project to provide quality homes that are healthy with low maintenance and running costs,  and she feels it is of the utmost importance to demonstrate to the public and government that these changes can and should be done within the housing market and can be adopted by social housing providers.

NB: Jo was also born & bred Taranaki, grew up in Westown, and her my family still live in Taranaki.

 Jo wills

Jo wills

 Nik Gregg, Jo Wills, and Phil Gregg from Sustainability Options

Nik Gregg, Jo Wills, and Phil Gregg from Sustainability Options

Impact Program Update

Term 1 

Term 1 saw the Impact Facilitators working with four schools whose students completed a range of exciting projects. Each group had a unique range of interests from water conservation, to used tyre playgrounds, to local food production.  

Inglewood primary had a conservation focus choosing to support their native trail area along the school's river boundary. The group was visited by guest speakers from the TRC and Rotokare Reserve to help identify the native plants and weeds, as well as birds and reptiles in the area. They identified and removed a patch of wild garlic, made up bird boxes from recycled wood to attract in birds, and created signs identifying native birds in the area. 

Norfolk Primary decided on an upcycling project after researching the impact of used tyres on the environment, They created a climbing wall out of used tyres for their school to enjoy, which was installed on the side of a playground fort. To raise awareness  in their community about the issue with used tyres the students then painted a sign about their project for all to see.

Egmont Village Primary students became aware of water conservation challenges when New Plymouth's water pipe was damaged in February. They decided to educate their community on the importance of saving water and the actions people can take by creating a video. The video was a hit with the head of the water treatment plant at NPDC who visited the students to talk about the local water supply. The students also helped their school by installing a recycled 1000 litre water tank to collect rain water for use on the school vegetable garden. 

Watch their video below! 

Spotswood College students wanted to support the school community by providing the food tech room with fresh, local, package free fruit. To do this they started an orchard, researching what fruit the food tech classes could use and what varieties of fruit could be planted in autumn. The trees they planted will be added to by later groups with support of the horticulture teacher. 

As always, we are inspired by the creative ideas and actions of the youth we work with who are undertaking real world and positive environmental actions. A big thank you to TRC, NPDC and Rotakare Trust for supporting the groups with guest speakers and to Tricky Trees Specialists for providing free mulch for the Spotswood orchard. 

Coming up in Term 2 we will be working with the NPBHS Green Team, Patea Area School, Hawera Intermediate and Devon Intermediate. 

Inspiring Interview with Kati Freeman on the Hokonui Breakfast Show


Kati Freeman, the GM of Sustainable Taranaki is interviewed by Charlotte Littlewood on the Hokonui Breakfast Show where she discusses the rebrand and new logo for Sustainable Taranaki, formerly known as the Taranaki Environmental Education Trust publicly. 

Kati has impressive credentials and is a skilled communicator who is leading the way for Sustainable Taranaki supported by a great team of Trustees and coordinators. 

Have a quick listen to learn what's in the pipeline. 

Hokonui intelligent radio featuring local people.






IMPACT Program kicks off 2018 in Inglewood, Norfolk, and Egmont

In the first school term the Impact team have been working with groups of youth throughout the region. Each group has been really creative in researching sustainability projects in which they can take positive action on.

Inglewood Primary have a beautiful forested area along a stream on the edge of their property. The Impact team want to identify what native trees, bird life and reptiles are in the area and make educational signs to share this with their community. They are also planning to take out weeds in the area and plant more native trees.

Norfolk Primary are currently in the early stages of working towards an upcycling project, using waste materials to create something for the school.

Egmont Village Primary students are interested in water conservation, with the school being on rain water supply for their drinking water. They are researching how they can collect rainwater for their school vegetable garden. They are are looking to make a short documentary film to educate their community about how to save water.

Spotwood College are in the early stages of designing an orchard space near the boundary with Spotswod Primary. Their idea is to involve both schools in learning about growing your own produce.

We look forward to watching these projects progress over the coming weeks

- Laine and Erin, IMPACT Coordinators


IMPACT Program Update: Highlands Intermediate and Coastal School

In Term 4 last year, Highlands Intermediate students focused on growing fruit trees to address the issue of food miles, the resulting environmental impact, and the need in the community to provide free healthy food. The students investigated possible sites, considering water, sun, wind and access. Following this, it was decided that the current school vege garden was the area they would like to develop further. They surveyed the student body's preferences for fruit, and from within this looked at what trees are suitable to plant at in late spring. They selected citrus and passion fruit, and developed a longer term plan along side this to continue planting next winter when pip and stone fruits can be planted.
Year 8 students at Coastal School focused on two areas of interest, growing local food and undertaking an upcycling project. The orchard group investigated possible sites, considering water, sun, wind and access. Following this it was decided that the current school orchard was well placed and they would like to extend this. 

"Working with Erin and Laine from Impact was transformational in the way I look at environmental education at Highlands Intermediate. Their process highly engaged the students, and had a successful project outcome. Great education, and great action." Pat Swason, Highlands Intermediate.
Being aware that the current New Plymouth landfill is due to close soon, the upcycling group wanted to make some outside furniture out of waste materials otherwise destined for landfill. They deconstructed pallets and created a table, then created seats out of old tyres and pillows. After discussing where they would like to place their creation it was decided to donate it to the local daycare centre, painting the top in chalkboard paint so that the children could make draw on the table. The table and chairs were then taken down to the daycare centre and donated to the children, where they spoke about their project to staff and children.

Laine and Erin, Impact Coordinators

Upcycling, Orchard Planting, Beach Cleans, and Biodiversity

IMPACT an invitation to step up, get involved, and contribute to an environmentally sustainable world.


Term 4 has seen the Impact team working with Coastal School, Oakura and Omata Primary's and Highlands Intermediate on a range of sustainability initiatives – upcycling, orchard planting, beach clean-ups and increasing biodiversity.

Oakura school's group decided to work within their Enviro Centre, an outdoor area that has been planted with natives and fruit trees around 5 years ago. The Enviro Centre also provides outdoor learning spaces for the school. After brainstorming ideas, they chose to work to enhance the bird-life in the centre; and therefore, researched and built bird boxes that are suitable to native birds, such as tuis and bell birds. They also built a bird feeding station to encourage birds into the space. The youth look forward to watching the birds flourish in their newly adapted natural habitat.


After looking into a range of environmental impacts, the students at Omata school were inspired to reduce the rubbish in the area. They first undertook a school liter clean up and audit to investigate what types of wastes were being created at the school. Following this, they organised a beach clean up at their local Tapuae beach. Inspired by Lorella Doherty of Rethinking Plastic Revolution and the artwork she has created from plastics up-cycled from our beaches, the students then created an ocean themed artwork to present to the school to educate the younger students about the impact of littering and how it affects the ocean environment. Great work Omata!

For more information or to get involved please email our IMPACT Facilitators Erin and Laine at

Information packs are available for schools and youth services on request.