'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 impact@sustainabletaranaki.org.nz

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

News for November 2017

Have you seen our latest newsletter?

We are excited to share some news with you. Read on to find a letter addressing the changes and the next steps for the Taranaki Environmental Education Trust from the Chair, Boyd Benton, photos from the 25th Anniversary celebration, and the last workshops before the summer holiday. Not to mention a whole calendar of great events not to be missed in our region. 

 Graham, Founder, and Kati Freeman, Trust General Manager, catch up together at the Taranaki Environmental Trust's 25th Anniversary Celebration. 

Graham, Founder, and Kati Freeman, Trust General Manager, catch up together at the Taranaki Environmental Trust's 25th Anniversary Celebration. 

Future Living Skills Event

Come and hear from local and national experts on what it means to live sustainably!

When: Saturday 28th October 2017

Time: 4:45pm - 6:30pm

Where: TSB Community Trust House, 21 Dawson Street New Plymouth

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What: Experts talk about better ways to live more sustainably. 

5:00pm - Kati Freeman, General Manager of the Taranaki Environmental Education - Introductions.

5:10pm - Daniel Wooley of local sustainable design company GreenBridge with present 'Designing an Eco-property'. Daniel has a Degree in industrial design and previously worked in Australia and London. Prior to founding Greenbridge he ran his own design and project management business in Wellington.

5:45pm - Rhys Taylor, founder and National Coordinator of the Sustainable Living Education Trust and co-chair of the NZ Association for Environmental Education will present ‘Future Living Skills - starting in your house and garden’. Among his many other roles, he tutors in South Canterbury for the Future Living Skills courses, is a trustee of Sustainable South Canterbury Trust and works on local government waste minimisation education. 

Please be seated by 5pm.


Great Success for Seedsavers Taranaki - Sale at Newstart Gardens

This past Wednesday, Seedsavers Taranaki held a sale for their first round of open-pollinated, localised seed, saved by growers from all over our region. These seedlings are adapted to our climate, are generally more resistant to pests and disease and they can be better for our nutrition as well.

Read more about why locally saved seed is beneficial. 


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Last Round of New Plymouth Workshops for 2017

Tēna koutou,

Kickstart your summer with some new learning opportunities and meet others who are on the same buzz.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the 2017 Sustainable Taranaki workshops. Your support has been invaluable to the growth and development of this program brought to life by the Taranaki Environmental Education Trust. We've had quite an impressive response, with most workshops selling out in the first few days, and we've had some fantastic facilitators who've contributed invaluable knowledge to help us all live more sustainably. 

We hope you will join us for our last round of workshops, and if you have any questions, suggestions for future workshops, or overall comments about our program, please be in touch by emailing workshops@sustainabletaranaki.org.nz.

Zero Waste Cooking

This our first workshop where the participants contribute to the design and content. Once you have purchased your ticket, our Workshops Coordinator, Erin, will be in touch with you to find out what foods typically go to waste or wind up as leftovers in your fridge at home. From this feedback our facilitator, Annabel, will use her creativity and know-how to put together content for the workshop that directly matches the needs expressed by the 15 individuals attending. Annabel will share her ideas relevant to the requests and provide simple ways to use the food that commonly ends up in the scrap bin. 

There will be cooking demos, recipes to try for later, and obviously lots of food to eat during the workshop!  Explore the different parts of commonly used vegetables and learn new ways to use them and turn them into healthy meals. The children at the kindergarten grow all vegetables that will be used in this demonstration where the workshop will be held. 

10 tickets are still available for purchase  HERE!

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Edible Weeds Workshop

We all have them... but do we use them? Learn from locally situated naturopath, Kelly Phillips, and discover a plethora of ways to make use of your weeds.  Learn to safely identify them, discover the right places to gather spray-free varieties, and acquire cooking techniques to incorporate these into your regular diet. Discover the medicinal properties of several varieties and find ways to support the health of you and your family. This workshop will be held at a garden featured on last year's Sustainable Backyards Trail and those who attend will gain the confidence to identify and utilise their all-too-familiar weeds that may have once been cast aside. Not to mention, a beautiful weed tea will be served!

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Edible Weeds Sold Out! Email workshops@sustainabletaranaki.org.nz to let us know you'd like a ticket if someone cancels. 


Read more about our South Taranaki Workshops and our Previous Workshops.

If you have any suggestions, please email workshops@sustainabletaranaki.org.nz

Sustainable Backyards Trail 2017 - Featured Stories

This year Sonja Slinger will be featuring the owners and their properties of the Sustainable Backyards Trail 2017 to take place the last week this October and first week in November (28th Oct - 8th Nov).

A couple of Americans in love with New Plymouth and their lifestyle are opening their town garden to the public come spring. Sonja Slinger takes a sneak preview ...Sonja Slinger: American couple take on new gardening ...