Making Good

We talk to Jackie and John heading the new Re:maker Space at Our Place Tauranga.

Our Place Tauranga welcomes the Re:Maker Space — a hub dedicated to rethinking our approach to waste, focusing on the circular economy and sharing skills within the community.

The year 2020 has been a catalyst for change. Faced with unprecedented and devastating social, environmental and political challenges, our communities have started to acknowledge the need to change the ways in which we live, eat, travel and do business.

Over the past two years, Our Place Tauranga has become known as the vibrant, beating heart of Tauranga City. Initially established as short-term and scalable, the intention was always for OPT to help bring long-term, positive change for people and businesses that call Tauranga home. With all its challenges, 2020 has provided the ideal opportunity to initiate this long-term vision by finding healthy, positive and creative ways to move towards the “new normal”.

“Sustainability is no longer about doing less harm; it’s about doing more good.” — Jochen Zeitz

As part of realising this vision, OPT founders Chris and Rachelle Duffy have partnered with the founders of Good Neighbour Food Rescue and Kitchen, Jackie and John Paine, and Lavina Good, to create the Re:Maker Space within OPT.

“Sustainability is central to our community,” says Jackie. “At Good Neighbour, we saw a passion among volunteers and the community to get involved in projects that make an impact. Our own passion for waste, education and working with the community aligned perfectly with Our Place’s philosophy and vision for the future.”

Wood will be one of the first waste products to be worked with at the Re:Maker Space.

The partnership will essentially see 60 per cent of OPT’s retail area converted into the Re:Maker Space, an intergenerational gathering space that inspires and encourages people to actively rethink, resource, reuse and redistribute objects through talks, workshops and creative workspaces. OPT’s excellent food and drink offerings and live entertainment will remain.

How to Grow a Community of Makers

Today’s linear approach to the use of resources is seeing all of the discarded stuff we no longer need or want heading straight to landfill, thereby polluting our environment. Many of these items could have their life extended or be repurposed into other products. But the Re:Maker team’s vision is wider than just dealing
with this immense waste, they’re also aware that many young people in our community are not flourishing at school and need other options.“We wanted to create a space to grapple with some of the big questions our community is facing in 2020 and help them be part of the solution,” says John.

“Our experience with the Good Neighbour Kitchen also demonstrated that students currently struggling with their existing education environment can be empowered to succeed — if given the right creative and supportive environment. This space will facilitate the success of these students,” says John. “We believe we can solve waste challenges within our own community, by connecting people, ideas and resources, to help support a circular economy.”

International working models of re-making include The Remakery in London and Dublin’s Rediscovery Centre, while in New Zealand, The Warren in Auckland is a good example of dealing with wood waste. The Re:Maker Space will be set up as a place to explore waste management ideas that are being developed nationally and worldwide, and implement them in practical and sustainable ways in our own community. It will also serve as a platform to harness Kiwi ingenuity and creativity to tackle waste issues. “Kiwis are incredibly resourceful and creative. When given the right environment, technical support and business support we can inspire the activation of these ideas into reality,” says Jackie.

“The opportunities to reuse, repurpose and upcycle are limited only by our imagination. We’ll start with textiles, wood and furniture, and build up community teams by collaborating with the university and polytechnic, local businesses and professionals to launch incubators, host workshops and creative upcycling initiatives.”

The Re:Maker Space will also host information nights and practical classes where skilled volunteers will team up with master craftsmen to help students produce products for sale.

“We look forward to getting it up and running,” says John. “It really is a community effort, and we’d like to express our gratitude to Tauranga City Council for their confidence in the initiative and the positive impact it can have on our community.”

Make Your Mark

Re:Maker Space’s educational workshops, information sessions and fun pop-ups will start to roll out at Our Place Tauranga over the next two months.

Details, follow   @remakerspacenz or to get involved, email: remakerspace@gmail.com

Story published in issue 29 of Our Place magazine.