2018 Impact Program Update - A Year of Change Makers

2018 has been another great year for Sustainable Taranaki's Impact program, with 143 youth undertaking 15 fantastic student-led sustainability projects throughout the Taranaki region. We have been impressed by the creativity and dedication of the youth we work alongside. These youth are not only undertaking practical real-world improvements in their local environment and communities, but through the program they are empowered to know that they can be the change makers of the future.

Many thanks to our key funders Ministry of Youth Development for their support to make this empowering experience available to Taranaki youth. And ngā mihi nui to Oranga Tamariki and the many local project partners, sustainability champions, teachers, and supervisors who have supported us. Your time and knowledge is much appreciated in supporting young people to create local sustainability solutions in our region.

This year we had a number of great new project ideas from youth, such as a bike maintenance day by the NPBHS Green Team to encourage sustainable transport, and a pest trapping project at Katere Ki-Te-Moana Marae initiated by Oranga Tamariki youth. We also saw some fantastic videos being created by students. Check out Egmont Village School's water conservation video and Devon Intermediate’s rubbish bin sculpture video

2018 Impact Program Participants

Egmont Village School
Inglewood Primary
Spotswood College
Norfolk Primary
Devon Intermediate
Pātea Area School
New Plymouth Boys High School


Activity Centre
Manukorihi School
Oranga Tamariki
St Patrick’s Inglewood
Coastal School
Puketapu School
Hāwera Intermediate

Project Videos

Egmont Village installed a 1000l water tank to collect water for their school vege garden. NPDC are interested in using their water conservation video to educate the wider North Taranaki community.

Devon Intermediate students undertook a litter clean up and identified the area around their playground as having no rubbish bin. They secured support from their Principal to install an upcycled bin and made a great litter education video.

2018 Impact Youth Projects Summary

Beach and Litter Clean Ups 

Activity Centre, Devon Intermediate and Puketapu School wanted to reduce waste in their community. Each group participated in a litter cleanup and then undertook a waste audit to identify what the most common items are that are being thrown away or littered, to support education and changes by students.

Upcycling Projects

Devon Intermediate, Norfolk and Inglewood Primary, Coastal Area School, St Patricks Inglewood, Puketapu and Pātea Area School wanted create objects out of waste materials, in order to reduce waste going to landfill. Thought this they learned an appreciation of how things can be repurposed, and some great practical design and building skills.

Conservation Projects

Manukorihi Intermediate, Oranga Tamariki, Egmont Village Primary, Hāwera Intermediate, Inglewood Primary, Devon Intermediate, St Patrick's Inglewood and Activity Centre all created projects focused on conservation or biodiversity. These included weed control, pest management, water conservation, river monitoring and riparian planting.

Community Garden Projects

Spotswood College, Pātea and Coastal Area Schools wanted to help people in need by providing them with free produce. Alongside this they also learned about the idea of food miles and the impact of our food and purchasing choices on the environment.

Plastic Free July

In July this year the Impact team ran two events for Plastic Free July. First up we held an upcycling day as part of the YMCA school holiday program. Youth made a number of sculptures out of reclaimed plastics that were then collated to form a miniputt obstacle course.

The following Saturday, alongside Taranaki Enviroschools, Rethinking Plastic Revolution, Upcycle Taranaki, NPDC and Karen's Kits we held a youth Plastic Free July event at Puke Ariki. This showcased the opportunities there are for youth to lead the way in reducing the impact of single use plastics on the environment. On the day YMCA youth were interviewed for the TV show WhatNow, showcasing their learning and media skills.

Thanks for joining us on this Impact journey. We look forward to working with you in 2019!

Erin, Laine and the Sustainable Taranaki team.

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: https://www.overshootday.org/


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