Te Wānanga o Raukawa takes up zero waste challenge

September 17, 2018

Te Wānanga o Raukawa (TWoR) is the first tertiary education provider in Te Ūpoko o Te Ika to take up the zero waste challenge and officially partner with Para Kore, a national body and programme aimed at working with marae and Māori organisations to increase the reuse, recycling and composting of materials to reduce the amount of waste going to Papatūānuku.

In line with one of the ten kaupapa that guide Wānanga activities:

Kaitiakitanga requires Te Wānanga o Raukawa to nurture and protect its people and its place; and to preserve and enrich those things that we have inherited from generations past.  It demands that we employ our resources wisely, ensuring that their utilisation contributes to our viability and reputation.’

The story started a few years back when staff were given an opportunity to take an in depth look at how we were treating the environment and its flow on effects.  Then two staff members came to a hui one morning with a dozen large black bags filled with rubbish to illustrate the huge amount of waste created by the Wānanga in a typical week.

This brought home the realisation that the Wānanga was not contributing as well as they should be to kaitiakitanga, caring for Papatūānuku and the people, and to discover that the waste they were producing was going to a landfill within close proximity to Ngatokowaru marae, one of their local hapū, was devastating.

As the Wānanga looks forward to the completion of their new ‘green’ building, Te Ara a Tāwhaki, in late August, kaitiakitanga will be further expressed with solar power, passive heating and ventilation, and rainwater systems to feature in the multi-functional meeting and learning space for students. 

TWoR now subscribes to the waste hierarchy i.e. Refuse; Reduce; Reuse; Recycle and, with the assistance of Para Kore, have recently invested in an easy to use recycling system and a worm farm.  The Wānanga recycling plan is founded on the placement of well labelled bins within each building collecting organic, landfill and mixed recycling; and an additional set of bins, fewer in number, for glass waste.  The recycling plan, that included workshops for staff to gain knowledge about recycling and its impact on mineral extraction and the environment, was gradually introduced throughout the month of May, and is now in full operation. 

Para Kore media release.jpg
Te Wānanga o Raukawa staff outside the newly installed worm farms.

“Having Te Wānanga o Raukawa on board with Para Kore is a fantastic opportunity for the employees and tauira to take practices and values home with them, further normalising kaitiakitanga and our responsibility to look after Papatūānuku,” says Te Kawa Robb, Kaiārahi, Para Kore Marae Incorporated.

The worm farm will be used for composting kai scraps from the Wānanga kitchen and dining hall, to help reduce the amount of waste dropped off at the landfill.  It is estimated that in a 6 - 9 month period each bin could go through 15 – 20+ litres of food scraps per day. Kai scraps that are not turned into compost are transferred to pig buckets for local use.

There are now over 300 organisations nationwide who have adopted the parakore kaupapa which means that our people are increasing their knowledge about recycling and are actively making contributions to the sustainability of our collective environment.

Te toto o te tangata, he kai; te oranga o te tangata, he whenua

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