Get to know Toha Wade

Get to know Toha Wade who plays a huge part within our community. She is an educator with our Talking Rubbish Team, as well as a community gardener, part of Mangere Community Patrols, and owner of her own home-made natural balm business- Totally Toha. Toha strives to empower our community through taking care of our environment. Part Ngai Tuhoe, Whakatohea & Te Whanau a Apanui, Toha is healthy and surrounded by her beautiful grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

What are your roles with ME Family Services and how do they contribute to empowering our community?

I am working with the Talking Rubbish Team as a waste co-ordinator and bin monitor at community events and as a waste educator for local groups.

This is my country, my whenua. It’s important to look after our whenua, New Zealand as a whole. I want the whole country on board to minimise waste. I want people to keep items out of landfill, and the only way for people to move forward is to be educated.

How has ME Family Services supported you in your journey?

Empowerment and health is huge thing in our community. Empowering our women to see that they are worthy, even if they are stay-at-home mums, they can do anything if they put their mind to it. I‘ve been fortunate to have the support of ME Family Services during my journey and I trade my time here. That’s me giving back by paying it forward. The people here at ME Family Services are very positive towards me and that’s what I love about this place.

What would you like to see more of in order for our families to grow & reach their fullest potential?

I would like to see our 275 community get more involved with waste minimisation, to ban plastic bags everywhere. I’ve realized that South Auckland is more aware of waste than any part of Auckland which I feel proud of, but we still need to do more.

How did you get into Waste Minimisation in the first place?

I got into Waste minimisation through Horticulture studies. I went on to do another gardening course called "Kai oranga".It was during my gardening studies that I came to the conclusion that composting and gardening were part of the waste minimisation cycle. The word itself plays a big part in the circle of life, not just for our community or our country but for the rest of the world too.

What are some of the highlights of your time working with ME Family Services?

That’s a hard one. Everyday I’m at the center is a highlight. Can’t go wrong at this place...There is always life at the center. There’s lots of laughter, lots of activity, and loads of friendly, non- judgmental people just willing to pop out and say "hi, how’s your day".

What are some of the leanings?

We have a multi-cultural staffing team for a multi-cultural Mangere....patience and understanding goes a long way in a multi-cultural society.

What challenges do you face in your work?

Being challenged by children is a good thing, but many of them haven’t learnt about which rubbish goes into which bins.

What are your hopes for the future of the wider community?

Within the next five years I hope that all of 275 know how to separate rubbish and where to put it. It would be great if we had access to places where we could take our rubbish that’s left behind, like TVs, batteries and tyres. I’d like to see employers making waste minimisation part of their staff induction as well as our local schools and 275 as a whole.


“He Tangata He Tangata He Tangata”
“It is people, it is people, it is people”