Reflecting back and looking forward

September has been a very reflective month for us at the EcoCentre. With reports to write for funders of our Plastic Free July/Kaitāia 2020 campaign, and the Community Clean Up on top of  the AGM for Te Pokapū Tiaki Taiao O Te Tai Tokerau (Far North Environment Centre), the trust that runs the EcoCentre. Not to mention the endless process of applying for funding to continue and expand the work being done from and at the EcoCentre.

The AGM was held on 17th September. Angela Callagher who has steered us through the last year as chairperson has, sadly for us, moved down to Whāngārei. We’re going to miss her creative input. This resulted in some musical chairs going on amongst the trustees; Rebecca Ranum is now chairperson, Nancy Gregory our treasurer and Lesley Hoggard our secretary. We’ve still room for a couple more trustees – if this sounds like you please get in touch!

As Angela mentions in her end of year report below, the EcoCentre will need to vacate the current building, either long enough for essential maintenance work to be done, or long term if FNDC decide not to fix it. We’d love to be able to keep our home here, with our murals and mosaic, as it’s a great location. We’re in dialogue with FNDC (who own the building) and are fortunate to have both Adele Gardner, convenor of the Te Hiku Community Board, and mayor John Carter being very supportive. Thankfully we’ve just had word that Pub Charities have approved some funding to top up the grant we got from the Te Hiku Community Board for rent so that we can afford to relocate to the town centre at least temporarily. Watch this space for future updates!

Chair of Trustees report

17th September 2018

Thank you to everyone who is attending today. Please accept my apologies, I am unable to attend due to my new work commitments in Whāngārei.

Today we look back over the last years mahi. These last twelve months are merely a drop in the ocean of time when you look at how many AGMs and hui have taken place since the establishment of Te Pokapū Tiaki Taiao O Te Tai Tokerau Trust in 1999. Oh to be a time traveller to go back and sit in on some of those hui. Would they have been different? I have a feeling that similar issues were being discussed. In the end they and we, all strive for a common purpose:

Our local communities, our people, our land and waters healthy together.”

I want to thank our Trustees for their dedication over the last year, and for some over many years. As you read through this report you will realise the enormous effort that has gone into the outcomes in the past year; this is thanks to the trustees and committed volunteers, and not forgetting their families for sharing their loved one with us; if it not for them the Trust and the EcoCentre would not function.

This year has seen some highs and it appears to be gaining momentum…

The Community Garden; thanks to dedicated volunteers and funding from COGS has hosted a number of workshops encouraging beginner gardeners and Hauora groups to create healthy soil and grow healthy food.

Plastic Free Kaitāia 2020 campaign; initiative was given a boost this year with funding from Working Together More Fund and Good in the Hood, allowing ECO centre volunteer Waikarere Gregory to utilise the popularity of Plastic Free July. During the month, a number of local events were held including market stalls, business and youth competitions, TTK hosted the film ‘From the Waste UP’, Kiwi Bottle Drive hosted the bottle buy back scheme at the Kaitāia Market, reusable bag making tutorials and the Crafty Monday was a bamboo straw making workshop. Waikarere also used this opportunity to talk to local businesses about plastic free options, some of whom have implemented permanent changes that will reduce the physical impact on our environment.

Kaitaia Kete were also launched during Plastic Free July. Our very own alternative to plastic carrier bags, these cloth bags are something that locals can be proud to carry with them and it is my personal hope that one day soon we see them in all the local stores.

Rejuvenation of Kaitaia Timebank has been possible thanks to Lotteries and the LW Nelson Trust who have funded a membership support person, Steph, and workshop & working bee coordinator, Ian. In general membership numbers have increased and existing members have become more active. After a successful pot luck dinner members have been keen to take part in various workshops and working bees. This year I have seen with my own eyes how these events connect the people of our community in encouraging ways; they have created space for positive conversations, facilitating the Trusts mission of

Bringing people and the environment together in the Far North.”

Crafty Mondays in large, have been a success, some workshops allowed for standing room only! They have seen new faces walk through our door and passion reignite in those that we see frequently. Locals have shared their talents and their love of all things sustainable and environmentally friendly. They have also been good revenue for the EcoCentre.

Our Social Media presence has helped to build our profile. In large, thanks to Anna utilising both the Website and Facebook to get our name and local issues out to the social media generation. It can’t be easy to come up with new content time and time again so your passion shows in your variety and consistency Anna, thank you!

There are so many other things I would love to touch on but our meetings are long enough [Big Smile] I just want to mention quickly: The Rubbish Trip zero waste roadshow that came to Kaitāia and then raved about us when they got home, the ECO Centre refurbishment over summer with the edition of our beautiful mosaic entrance way by Jen Gay, and the sale of an ever growing variety of zero waste products from our trading tables, the sale of our reusable produce bags through NOSH in Waipapa, attending the community networking meetings and being a part of the conversation and the solution, the establishment of EcoCentre volunteers meetings and an improved induction process which will help to ensure our volunteers feel supported and part of a friendly team. Above all I have been really proud of the willingness by all to try new things and to change those things that aren’t working well, this is the way forward, he world is in dire need of change!

The Future: It looks as though a change in venue is likely for the EcoCentre; whether it is temporary or permanent I am excited at the opportunity this will provide us. We will be seen by different people, many of which will be drawn in by something new. Let’s greet every one of them with enthusiasm, give them knowledge and encourage them to share it. Empower our people by

Working at the grassroots/flax roots level to encourage sustainable, resilient lifestyles.”

Encourage people to participate by letting them know they are welcome here, make the issues relevant to them, then give them confidence to make change by suggesting to them how easy it can be.

The Trusts 20th Year Anniversary is coming up in 2019 and that is certainly something to celebrate! I am excited to see what wonderful ideas you all have for the upcoming celebration.

It has been a privilege to be a part of the Te Pokapū Tiaki Taiao O Te Tai Tokerau Trust Committee and a volunteer at the EcoCentre. Thank you all for your friendship and all the best for the future, I will be watching [via social media] in anticipation for continued progress.

Warmest Regards,

Angela Callagher

Chairperson

*Quotes taken from Te Pokapu Tiaki Taiao O Te Tai Tokerau Trust Far North Environment Centre Values, Vision, Mission, & Action 2018

post compiled by Anna Dunford

 

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