Who’s MAD About Waiheke?
Ngāti Kurī, Te Aupouri, Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi nui tonu
Hinemoa has lived on Waiheke for 21 years. Her favourite things to do on the island are walking and swimming at the beach, social wāhine waka on Sunday mornings followed by lamb’s fry and de-brief at Found with the team and being inspired by live shows at our local theatre.
Hinemoa is the Chair of the Trust Board for Te Whare Tapere o Waiheke, Artworks Theatre. She trained as a dancer and actress and is a former Chair of the Auckland Theatre Board and the inaugural Chair of the Arts Regional Trust Board.
As a specialist psychiatrist who has been involved with the arts all her life, Hinemoa says her practice has taught her that creative expression is crucial for wellbeing.
“We strive to ensure that there are creative places in the theatre complex where the imagination can run wild and our community can express themselves in order to continue to develop and evolve our authentic Waiheke identity.
“Highlights during my time with Artworks have been the incredible skill of our theatre company performing a locally developed production of “Petty Crime”, our local “Louise Emma Academy of Dance” students’ extraordinary talent, the mind-blowing energy of local band Radio Rebelde showcasing their international flair on our island and the indomitable combo of Ekko Park and The Jordan Luck Band. Plus I am very proud of our Te Reo Māori mother and babies group that use our foyer for their weekly classes.
“I love interacting with our operational team and fellow Board members. Their enthusiasm is infectious, as well as their ‘go for it’ attitude!
“Volunteering at our place is fun and offers great learning opportunities. It fosters friendships and networks for those who love the creative arts.”
Kaitiaki of Newton Reserve
Jules and her family have spent holidays and weekends on Waiheke for nearly 30 years, and had a house on the island for 20 of those years. Following retirement, Jules and her partner will move here permanently, about which she is very happy!
She is currently chair of the Kaitiaki of Newton Reserve charitable trust (KNR), whose mission is the revegetation, restoration and beautification of Newton Reserve. Working with other members, she liaises with the local board, orders plants, plans ongoing work in the Reserve, manages the trust’s funds, and coordinates the volunteers who come from Auckland each month to help with weeding and planting.
Since 2006, KNR has planted more than 14,000 native plants and removed weeds from more than half of the six hectare area of the Reserve. The bird life has multiplied, with increased numbers in particular of tui, shining cuckoo, kereru, silvereyes, kaka, and grey warblers, due to the expanded native forest food supply.
“Our volunteers come from all over the world and to me this is how tourism should be – seeing the world while giving back, rather than passively using the planet’s dwindling resources for idle pleasure.
“If making your environment rich with natural splendours is what motivates you, then this is a project you should get involved with. You will have fun with others, get some physical exercise and gain a huge sense of satisfaction.”
Kai Conscious Café
After 30 years in Europe, Kathy returned to Waiheke three and a half years ago. “I’m delighted to be back in a small caring community, to breathe Waiheke air and appreciate its beauty”, she says.
Kathy first became involved in the Waiheke Resources Trust by volunteering for Zero Waste and events held at the Ostend Market. The WRT manager at the time was impressed by Kathy’s TedX The Hague talk “Changing the World One Plate at a Time”, and asked if she would help out with Kai Conscious.
“Working with the fabulous zero waste warrior Carys Templer, we began the Rescue Food Kai Café and we haven’t looked back since. It’s just got better and better.
“Observing members of our community sitting down together at Kai Café is the best time of the week for me. The mix of young internationals chatting with long term locals, WOOFERS, new and older volunteers is wonderful to see. New friendships are made and old friends meet anew. It’s all about community and connection and saving thousands of kilos of perfectly good food that otherwise would be tipped into landfill. Food waste is a huge drain on our planet; we simply have to shut that waste down. And thanks to the participation of Waiheke food providers, we’re helping to do that here on the island.”
If you are interested being part of the food rescue community, come along to the Sustainability Centre on a Friday; cooking starts @ 11am and lunch is served around 1.15pm. Or follow the Kai Conscious Café on Facebook or phone the WRT 09 372 2915.
Meals on Wheels
Lynette and her husband have lived on Waiheke for just over 40 years. She enjoys meeting friends for dinner at the RSA on Sunday nights and in the summer, swimming at Onetangi or Kennedy Point.
Lynette volunteers for Meals on Wheels, and also takes people to hospital appointments for the Waiheke Health Trust.
“This means that those unable or unwilling to cook for themselves get a hot meal each day and thus also at least one visitor each day. I enjoy keeping in touch with the older members of the Waiheke community.
I believe that people who are retired and in good health should give back to the community, and volunteering for community services should be mandatory.”
Miro, who is 17 years old, was born on the island and has lived here all his life.
Inspiring others to participate in political conversation is Miro’s passion, and the reason he volunteers for the Young Greens. Recently he organised an event on the island, bringing Green MP Chloe Swarbrick to speak at the Waiheke Sustainability Centre about issues affecting New Zealand and her role as Green Party spokesperson for mental health and youth.
“She was a great speaker and people heard new ideas about what we can all do around climate change.”
Listen to the Korero with Green MP Chloe Swarbrick here.
Miro believes that informing people on important environmental and social issues is crucial in today’s world. He is looking to expose Waihekeans to a wider political dialogue, and stimulate more conversations about important issues.
“Through Young Greens I have made new relationships and connections, and gained experience in organising events. Meeting Chloe Swarbrick was a highlight!
“People can join our group to make important connections, as well as help a movement that is inspiring people to think more about their impact on the earth and other people, and what they can do to better themselves or others.”
Paul and his partner moved to Waiheke from London in 1998, looking for a change from the big city environment. He loves island life, and gives back by volunteering at the Zero Waste station at Ostend Market. Zero Waste volunteers work with customers, market organisers and stall holders to minimise waste and divert it away from landfill.
“We're there to help people make the right choices for their rubbish and to provide information on recycling and ways to reduce waste”, Paul says. “Following years of progress at the market, and work with the Waiheke Resources Trust, most of what gets thrown away is now turned into compost, creating a useful resource rather than being dumped and adding to the problem.
“We're keen to expand the educational aspect of what we do, to extend our reach, to encourage and inform others to make simple changes that could make a difference for the environment. We often have visitors stopping to chat. I think what goes on at Ostend Market shows people the potential for change.
“If you've been looking for a way to take action to help the environment, then come and join us! It's a great way to engage with the community and visitors. You'll even get a lunch voucher to spend at the market stall of your choice!”
If you are interested in offering your time and skills to Zero Waste, contact email@example.com
Kaitiaki and Friends of Te Aroha Valley and Hekerua Bay
Tim and his wife Jackie built a small house five years ago on a section we had owned for 15 years in Te Aroha Valley. They have lived there on and off since then and moved to Waiheke permanently six months ago.
“For many years I had walked up and down Te Aroha walkway (Don’s Track) bemoaning the fact that no one was doing anything about the weed problem in what is a beautiful regenerating bush valley. I finally realised that if I wanted anything to happen I was probably going to have to get into action and organise it. I am a landscape architect, so I have a particular interest in regenerating the native bush and ecosystems.
“I started this neighbourhood group at the beginning of 2019. Its focus is on weed and pest control and regeneration of the bush in Te Aroha Valley and Hekerua Bay. I am the group coordinator – I manage communications with members, liaise with the steering committee, organise working bees, apply for funding and am working on developing systems to ensure the group has a viable long-term future.
“The big difference this group is making is in creating a greater sense of community for the residents of the Valley and surrounding neighbourhood. I see the potential for the project to be an example of how people can live in a bush setting in harmony with nature, while protecting and enhancing the ecosystems that share the valley with them.
“We have a strong sense of community in our group and really enjoy spending time together. I would encourage anyone who would like to get to know others in the local and wider community to join us, and along the way you will get to make a real difference to the natural environment, something very critical in the face of the challenges of climate change.”