Inspiring Communities - Auckland Update - May 2015

Auckland Update - May 2015

Kia ora ano, and welcome to our second newsletter for 2015 

This month we feature stories on people who have stepped up and put themselves out there for the things they believe in. On top of this they do what needs to be done in the company of others ensuring it is more likely to succeed – and it adds to the enjoyment.  Read what they say about upcycling tyres to make seats in a Sandringham Reserve, reducing rubbish in Glen Innes and persuading all of Auckland to be plastic bag free.

These stories are written by those involved, because Inspiring Communities is committed to hearing the many voices that drive locally led change. What we focus on grows. 

We also feature upcoming events including information about ‘Our Place’ a conference Inspiring Communities is co-hosting with Inclusive NZ and Be.Institute. Plus some great opportunities to learn with Mark Cabaj in May, and with Allan Kaplan and Sue Davidoff in August. There’s also a link to check out Auckland Community Foundation’s monthly $1000 grant opportunity ‘the JAPhA fund’.

Inspiring Communities is planning another Provocative Breakfast Conversation - the kind that incites and excites - leaving you a little bit stirred up! We are working with the Be. Institute on this, our next letter will have all the details. 

If you would like to share what locally-led change you and your community are up to, please let me know by email and we’ll happily run an article or advertise your event:


Community News

A Recipe for Fun - and Recyled Tyres - in Sandringham

Ellen Schindler gets creative

On a recent Wednesday afternoon, six Grow Sandringham members, slowly but surely, assembled and painted five tyre seats in a local reserve, contained in the middle of the shopping centre. The reserve has been the subject of much conversation over the past few years:  How can it be used by more people?  Can the beautiful but dilapidated art deco toilet block be restored and repurposed? What can local people do to help revitalise it?

Inspired by seats made by The Roots Creative Entrepreneurs and seen at a Waterfront Auckland event, the aim of this project was to generate some conversation and interaction with passers-by during the busy after-school run time of day and provide new seating for the reserve.  It was also designed to contribute to some of Grow Sandringham’s goals of waste reduction, repurposing waste resources and illustrate that with a little effort, by working together local people can make a difference.

So the six people arranged to relieve our friendly local garage owner of some of the tyres that he pays to be dumped. We bought a few meters of strong, coloured rope, some paint and a no.12 drill bit; we talked to the closest shop owner about donating power and made a date.  Then, in the park, we made some seats.  Here’s how:
  1. Gather your materials
  2. Simply drill 24 holes into the tyre rim equidistant apart
  3. Weave a rope through six holes forward and backwards in one direction, then in the other direction
  4. Make sure you tighten the rope before you do the final knots
  5. A splash of paint makes for an eye catcher on that green grass

The reaction of passers-by was diverse and interesting; some too shy to be roped in, others more than happy to test-sit the new seats and engage in a conversation. For Grow Sandringham members, it was a fun afternoon and a first little step in establishing a dialogue with other locals to hear what they have to say about this little park and its potential.  It was an easy thing to do and we noticed the seats were moved around; sometimes stacked up on top of one another, other times spread out, other people had fun with them too.

It was all over in 36 hours. By then the tyre seats were gone from the reserve and all Grow Sandringham members have expressed hope and faith that the seats were so popular that someone just decided to give them a new home. Maybe we will make some more…
For more information see

Taking the Wrap to the Streets

Karen Clifford talks rubbish

Four Glen Innes women have found their mojo and asked the Auckland Council to come and work alongside them to share their rubbish and recycling messages.  Shantn, Stefanie, Naomi and Tray are Tamaki Wrap waste champions who have taken on the challenge to induce more residents across Tamaki to become ‘waste wise’.

Rethink, reclaim, recycle are key messages the Wrappers are taking to the streets. “It’s about supporting another community to be aware of how to deal with their rubbish”. Naomi and Shantn’s family lived in Panama Road for over thirty years.  â€œWe wanted to give back to our old community and support them to become better informed about rubbish,” says Shantn.

Tamaki Wrap Champions undertook a successful door knocking campaign in Glen Innes last year, With just one knock on the door from the Wrappers and the newly formed Making the Most of Waste crew (within Auckland Council)  the rubbish across Glen Innes went down to an all-time low, with more residents recycling right.

“Our community were better informed on how to sort their rubbish and what goes in to the blue bin,” says Shantn. “I just love rubbish and talk a lot of rubbish nowadays, I know how my community works and what messages they will hear. It’s all about saving money and doing the right thing, it’s simple, really it is”

So Tamaki, look out for us - we will be in your street and maybe knocking on your door! Listen out for the rap from the wrappers. Yes we have our own song too!!     
For more information see:

Plastic Bag Free Auckland 

Stephanie Borrell makes a stand 

I initially began the campaign to have plastic bags banned in Auckland by starting an on-line petition with nearly 4,000 signatures. It turns out there are a lot of people who don’t like plastic bags. That’s because plastic bags have a huge environmental impact, from the manufacturing through to the disposal, and yet they are used for an average of 12 minutes.

The oil used to make a single plastic bag would drive a car for 21 kilometres. When plastic bags blow out of rubbish trucks and landfill, they end up in our waterways and our oceans, where they choke wildlife. Plastic bags, and all single use plastics are serial killers, they kill once and can kill again and again because they don’t biodegrade well, and are estimated to stick around for 500 -1000 years. While the ocean is an enormous place, our plastic bag consumption and waste is beginning to confront us in a very visceral way. 

There were a number of people around the country working in their own communities to get plastic bag bans in place.  We have had a lot of support from groups like Ecomatters, Plastic Diet (UoA), the New Zealand Green Party, and many other individuals working hard to build awareness of the environmental issues plastic bags cause  and the bid to have them banned.

In July I took the petition to the Auckland Council and presented it to Mayor Len Brown, who accepted it and sent to the Environment, Climate Change and Heritage Committee for investigation. In March, the Committee voted unanimously to support a plastic bag free Auckland.

They are now advocating to central government to help enforce a ban and together with the New Zealand Green Party, many other individuals and groups around Auckland and the country, we are shifting the campaign nationwide. The Green Party is providing postcards to send to the Minister for the Environment asking to have plastic bags listed as a priority waste product so that councils can enforce a plastic bag ban.

We have approached the leading supermarket retailers, who are supportive of a ban, but only if there is legislation to make it fair for all retailers to make it a reality.Passing legislation will enable councils to enforce bans. If there is a charge put on the sale of plastic bags, this will contribute revenue to the Government, which can be put back into the community or used for cleaning up the environment.

We are also asking retailers to put signs up to ask their customers to bring their own bags, and stating that they support a plastic bag free New Zealand. Most importantly, we are asking consumers to say no! to plastic bags at the register.

People can get involved by talking to their local board member in Auckland, and by joining the Plastic Bag Free New Zealand facebook page ( where you can also find out more and get resources to help make the change.

Opportunities and Events 

Join Mark Cabaj on 27 May, to talk about ‘Moving the needle on Complex Community Issues.’ For more information visit:
Our Place Conference:  29 June - 1 July 2015 at Te Papa. Our Place is an opportunity for a new conversation between community organisations, government agencies, the business sector and community members. What possibilities there are! For more information and to register, visit:

Proteus Institute: 3 workshops are offered during August:
  1. The Art of Facilitating Conversation,  Approaches, Methods, Practices.  Auckland, Monday 10-12 August, residential (starting 9am and finishing 4 pm on the 12th).
  2. A Delicate Activism, Wellington,Thursday 13 and Friday 14th August, non-residential (9 am to 5pm).                           
  3. Wholeness of Life, Towards a New Practice of Change. Auckland Monday 17- Wednesday 19th August, residential (starting 9am and finishing 4 pm on the 19th).

For more information visit:
JAPfA fund:  Every month the JAPfA Fund (Just Another Philanthropic Aucklander) will pay a monthly grant of up to $1,000 to Aucklanders who have small and creative projects that will achieve social or environmental good. This fund also makes giving more accessible. You can find out more about both contributing to the fund and applying for a grant at:

If you would like to share what you and your community are up to, we’d love to let people know about your CLD efforts. Please let me know by email:

Ngā mihi mahana

Denise Bijoux
m 021 2456 898  l  p09 815 0963

About Inspiring Communities

To find out more about Inspiring Communities, our approach to learning, our framework for Community-Led Development, and more, visit:

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The work of Inspiring Communities is currently being supported by The Todd Foundation, the J R McKenzie Trust, BayTrust, Wesley Community Action, ASB Community Trust, Slingshot-Call Plus, Lottery Community, Ideas Shop and many other generous people and organisations who contribute time, skills, meeting spaces and resources to help us grow the recognition, understanding and practice of community-led development in Aotearoa, NZ.
To find out more about Inspiring Communities, our approach to learning, our framework for Community-Led Development, and more, visit:
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