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Source: Auckland Council

Doing better with waste is an opportunity to make the most of the resources we have, create jobs, stimulate innovative design and economic development, and protect our communities and our environment.

To get you inspired, below are a few Tāmaki Makaurau para kore (Auckland zero waste) programmes grounded in te ao Māori (Māori world view).

These projects received funding from the council’s Waste Minimisation and Innovation Fund (WMIF) to further their impact.

If you run or are a member of a business, iwi/Māori, or an education or community group with a project that will help reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill, you could be eligible to apply for our funding.

Para Kore

Para Kore has a vision for all marae to be working towards zero waste by 2025, and so far they’ve diverted more than 500 tonnes of waste from landfill. They deliver education and training to create behaviour change that aligns with the principles of a circular economy.

More than are 430 marae are avoiding waste, sorting it so that as little as possible goes to landfill, and educating whānau about how to reduce plastic and recycling. They received a WMIF grant to expand their reach.

As a Māori organisation, Para Kore is grounded in relationships with and whakapapa to Papatūānuku, Ranginui me ō rāua uri (connection to the Earth mother, sky father, and their descendents).

Whānau are developing and implementing Para Kore programmes in Kōhanga reo (early childhood education), Kura Kaupapa (school programmes), churches and community centres. So far, more than 360,000 people have engaged with Para Kore throughout Aotearoa.

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Ōrākei Marae

When Beronia Scott first started adopting a para kore approach at Ōrākei Marae, her focus was on transforming the whare kai (kitchen), where she was in charge.

Nearly 15 years later, and with the support of our WMIF grant, the kitchen is now zero waste and they have closed the loop. They now turn kai into kai – taking para kai (food scraps) and using it to feed the soil to grow more great food.

“We all talk about kaitiakitanga (guardianship) or being kaitiaki (guardians),” says Beronia. As Māori, we talk about kaitiakitanga, manaakitanga (taking care), awhi (help). We help our people change their whakaaro (mindset).

“If you are Māori, you have to do it, and if you are not Māori and live in Aotearoa, or on this planet, you have to do it. It just has to be done.  

“You don’t have to be Māori to be a kaitiaki.  We need to teach our children and we need to protect Papatūānuku.”

The next step for Ōrakei marae on their para kore journey will see the development of a ‘Marae Pataka’ – a place to distribute bulk food and their kai from the māra so whanau can reduce the impact of single use food packaging on the environment.

Kai Ika Project

In te reo Māori, the head of the fish is called rangatira kai, meaning chief’s food. In many cultures, fish heads are considered a delicacy. Fish head soups and curries are a staple of diets around the world.

The Kai Ika project is a collaboration between LegaSea, Outboard Boating Club and Papatūānuku Kōkiri Marae. Together, they collect the parts of fish that are being discarded and turn them into healthy kai for local communities. They received funding from Auckland Council’s WMIF to help scale up their ambitious project and meet the high demand for fish meat from the 65 per cent of a fish that was otherwise going to waste.

Papatūānuku Kōkiri Marae plays a crucial role in converting waste from one part of the community into nourishment for others. Volunteers from the marae in Māngere distribute the kai moana (seafood) to hundreds of families and community groups that are eager to receive them.

Making a difference

Councillor Richard Hills, Chair of the Environment and Climate Change Committee, understands how zero waste can help with the wider climate emergency, saying,

“By doing the right thing with waste, we’ll be a step closer to solving other challenges too. Marine pollution, climate change, and social inequity are all issues where waste is part of the problem, and where zero waste can be part of the solution.

“Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri, Auckland’s Climate Plan, sets out a future with a circular economy, and our WMIF grants encourages us to achieve this goal. Reducing our carbon footprint means we need to try new things and turn great ideas into everyday solutions for zero waste. Whether it’s a little funding to strengthen an already successful project, or a large boost to take a big idea to the next phase, we are excited to partner with you to reduce waste.”

Whītikihia ko te maro Ope Taua

o Papatūānuku,

ko Kaupapa-Rua te tikanga,

kimihia he mahi hōu te whai,

ko hangarua te whakamataara,

ko para kore te taumata whakaaro nui.

Tūturu whakamaua kia tina!

Let us gird ourselves as Warriors

of the Earth, and assent to

Re-purpose being the plan,

Re-use being the driver,

Recycle being the catch-cry

and zero waste – the bold goal.

Let us set ourselves to the task, till it is done!

Get more information and apply for WMIF funding here.

MIL OSI