Eco-neighbourhoods create fun environment for learning

Publish Date : 30 Apr 2024
Young child with the mask on

Dedicated work is being carried out in Ōtara to make meaningful contributions towards combating climate change.

Led by passionate locals, and supported by Pacific Vision Aotearoa, who are actively working towards creating Eco-neighbourhoods and promoting sustainable living, the programme is funded by individual local boards like Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board.

It is then managed by local community facilitators who support residents to adopt sustainable lifestyles within their homes and communities.

Local board chair Apulu Reece Autagavaia says, “The Eco-neighbourhood initiative was introduced in Ōtara-Papatoetoe in the beginning of 2023 with the goal of uniting residents who are dedicated to addressing climate change.
“Our community has spoken loudly, both our older generation and our younger generation, that climate change must be addressed, and that council has an important role to play. We have heard you and we are responding.”

To facilitate the execution of more activities and events, multiple groups have been formed for this purpose. Groups also have access to some funds to help make a difference in the neighbourhood.

Children’s Day

In early March, the Eco-neighbourhoods team celebrated Children’s Day with the focus on educating tamariki on how to correctly recycle (with the new rules in place), reducing food waste, seed giveaways and planting a community garden bed using autumn vegetables.

South Auckland project lead Caragh Doherty says: “The day was dedicated to our tamariki with about 30 in attendance, and thanks to the board’s funding they particularly enjoyed planting seedlings and being able to take them home to their own gardens. There were educational stalls, fun entertainment, and kai for all.

“The hope moving forward is that all households in Ōtara will utilise their food scraps bins to reduce household waste and that they will be able to use the kai they have grown to feed their whānau.”

New to Me clothing swap in Ōtara

The New to Me Clothing Swap took place over the course of two mornings, during which members of the community brought in clothing they no longer needed or wanted.

Participants were able to leave with new outfits, resulting in a successful event that not only reduced textile waste going to landfills but also fostered connections among families and helped individuals save money. A well-coordinated event organised by staff at Nga Taonga Aroha Early Childhood Centre.

Another 'New to Me' clothing swap will take place soon.

The lovely space at Nga Taonga Aroha Early Childhood Centre

The lovely space at Nga Taonga Aroha Early Childhood Centre

The Call to Papatoetoe

It's great to see groups flourishing in Ōtara! Now, it's important to establish similar groups in Papatoetoe, according to Cara Doherty.

“We're calling upon Papatoetoe to join in and establish their own Eco-neighbourhoods. It's a wonderful opportunity to make a positive impact and share their passion for the environment with their fellow residents,” she says.

Upcoming events

  • Poi key chain and using textiles to make poi workshops, held at Tupu Youth Library and Ōtara Library during the school holidays

  • Preparations are being made for a group holiday lasting three days and will feature, Para kore (zero waste), kaitiakitanga (guardianship of the land), beautification of local space and recycling education

  • Rongoa Māori workshop, where people learn how to make kawakawa balm and kawakawa soap

  • Waste minimisation event using cloth nappies, bokashi, composting and worm farm to reduce waste

  • AROHA Group – a vibrant community fostering connection among the elderly, blending cultural appreciation with environmental consciousness. Through a myriad of activities, AROHA celebrates cultural heritage and encourage sustainable practices that respect the environment.

Get involved today! Check out the Eco-neighbourhoods website, Facebook or email

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