It’s been nearly five years now since ME Family Services first started our Talking Rubbish work in the community. In the early days, we focused our efforts on finding the people and groups in our community who were already working to protect our environment and helping others find ways to live sustainably. We didn’t have to look hard, because there were so many- from our community and backyard gardeners, to the teachers in our local schools. From our cycling advocates, to our upcyclers. From our kaitiaki of local waterways and whenua, to our churches and marae.
Our first action was to create a regular opportunity for the people doing this mahi (or wanting to!) to meet each other, share ideas and connections, support each other and generate a shared vision for the future of our community. The Māngere/Ōtāhuhu Sustainability Action Group (any suggestions for a new name are welcome!) was born, and an ever-changing group of locals has been gathering together once a term to share korero, kai and aroha.
The group meets in different locations each time, so we can see firsthand what’s happening around our community. July’s meeting was hosted by Good Seeds in Buckland Rd, and we were able to enjoy their amazing hospitality and baking! The meeting was a good chance to catch up on all the exciting things happening around our community, including resource recovery (ME Family Services), bokashi clubs (Pacific Vision Aotearoa), waste minimisation competitions (Good Seeds) and the Enviroshools programme (Nga Iwi School). We were also able to offer support and community connections to Taeaofou I Puaseisei preschool, who are looking to start their own garden and waste systems.
Regular attendee and Nga Iwi School teacher Kathrina McGuire gave this feedback on her experience- “thanks for organising the meeting today. I really love coming, there is so much positive energy there, so many lovely people. Already looking forward to the next one”. First-timer Alice Kaleopa from Taeaofou I Puaseisei preschool was glad she came too, saying “I was so excited to meet all the networks on Friday. I would like to thank you also for the opportunity to visit your resource centre afterwards.”
Our next meeting will be in the October school holidays (date and venue TBC). Kathrina will be offering a mini-workshop on reusing old T-shirts. Please let me know if you’d like to come along and I’ll add you to the mailing list (firstname.lastname@example.org). Nau mai haere mai!
Written by Justine Skilling
Talking Rubbish, ME Family Services