The Talking Rubbish team first met Teau Aiturau (aka Mr Tee) back in 2016, when he set up camp in the carpark at Centre Park, Robertson Rd. His aim was to “make Māngere the biking capital of the South Pacific” by inspiring and supporting people to take up biking to get fit and stay healthy. He planned to recycle old bikes from the community, teach people how to fix and maintain them, and get them confident with riding.
Talking Rubbish quickly saw synergies with our own work in the area, of finding ways to regenerate and repurpose our community “waste”, and encouraging and fostering a culture of fixing and mending, instead of trashing and buying new. We offered to support Mr Tee in whatever way we could with his initiative.
Over the intervening years, we’ve had lots of opportunities to contribute to the work of Māngere Bikefit, from assisting with a funding application to the Waste Minimisation and Innovation Fund (for a bike trailer and bike mechanics tools), to helping Mr Tee make his regular community events zero waste. Talking Rubbish has had a regular presence at his many events over the years, providing separate bins and bin monitors and taking away the food scraps for our compost bin at ME Family Services.
Over the past couple of months, we’ve been working with Mr Tee to get a worm farm up and running at his base in Robertson Rd, so food scraps from the base and from his events can be turned into a resource for his on-site vege garden. After a bit of trial and error (the first batch of worms were tipped out in a clean-up by an overenthusiastic volunteer!), the worm farm is starting to function, and the volunteer group that run Māngere Bikefit are getting the hang of how it works.
We’ve also connected Māngere Bikefit in with our Māngere/Ōtāhuhu Resource Recovery Network, and he is the regular recipient of any bike-related equipment that comes through our centre. Our recent Māngere/Ōtāhuhu Sustainability Network meeting was held at his base, and we are always happy to promote his bike and garden equipment maintenance workshops through our networks in the community.
“We really appreciate what yous do for our community”, says Teau.