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Wastewise is one of the four Wises groups at Western Springs College-Ngā Puna O Waiōrea. The other three Wises are Travelwise, Healthwise, and the newly minted Digiwise. Each group has a teacher facilitating (Jared Hockley, Ada Wong and Deb Thompson), a number of Year 13 leaders as well as a core group of incredible rangatahi and many others who join in.

From our name, it may seem like Wastewise goes around the school picking up rubbish. Yes, in part we do have a focus on waste. However, the Wastewise group is so much more than its name alludes to.  

The Wastewise group have had another amazing year. The three Year 13 leaders did an outstanding job. Zylah Vivace, Daisy Nalder and Lucian Martin showed leadership skills as well as many other attributes that will take them forward in life, such as communication and organisation skills. 

2023 began with the Wises Camp, where all four Wises groups bonded and plotted a course for 2023. Like all plans, they changed. The Wises Camp had a few changes even before it began. The main tweak being a shift in our proposed camp venue in Muriwai that was affected by the floods and cyclone to Camp Maynard in Albany. We were reminded of the human impact on the environment. We were especially reminded when, on our bush walk, we saw that the entire bottom of the track had been washed away. On the day of the walk there was a trickling stream that had clearly been an uncontrollable torrent. 

I wrote a previous newsletter article on the fantastic Wises Camp at Camp Maynard, so all I will say here is that the Wises Camp 2023 was a chance for like-minded rangatahi (and kaiako) to share ideas and be inspired, and most importantly to make a plan to go forward into 2023. We also ate some really yummy kai – each group successfully prepared a meal. 

Our ongoing Wastewise initiative that was started way back when – the Clothing Recycle, kept up momentum in 2023. The initiative is not about fundraising, but about passing on clothing items you do not require to someone else who will use them. There are some long standing Wastewise members who fully embrace this initiative and others – Radha Patel, Eve Galbraith, Isla Hodge, Enzo Vivace and Zariya Alibhai. 

In particular the skills of our three Wastewise leaders came to the forefront during the organising of Green Jam. Green Jam is a conference for around 130 ākonga from different schools from around Auckland. Attendees included our Kaitiaki group with their kaiako Whaea Stacey Byers and Whaea Heather Alice, the Education for Sustainability Year 12 Class with kaiako Chrislyn Averill, plus Paula Marx and our Rat Trappers. The conference included guest speakers and workshop sessions. Thanks to the Zoo for allowing us to use the Domes – the perfect venue.

As well as our Wastewise Leaders and rangatahi from Kaitiaki who shared with the presenting on the day, and our core (and growing) Wastewise members, there were a number of others who joined in to make this conference a success – Matthew Sutton, Max de Witte, Isla Kirkman, Scarlett Ledgrove and Georgia Wallace. Zylah Vivace previously wrote a newsletter piece on our fabulous Green Jam.

Along with Kaitiaki, Wastewise also took part in feeding our worms the school food waste. The worm farm is managed by our groundsman Selwyn Watford and his team. This is one of the benefits of our three bin system – Recycling, Food Waste and General Waste (plus there are a number of paper recycling bins around the school). We were joined by Wastewisers – Charlie Ullrich, Hannah Curran, Molly Hogan, Mia Keating and others.

Wastewise were also involved in a few environmental biodiversity enhancement projects organised by Whaea Alice. We participated alongside the Kaitiaki group, rangatahi from Waiōrea and Paula Marx’s Rat Trapping group. Some of our new Wastewisers were also involved in this project – Noah Speers and Mila Sokolich.

As the year progressed, we picked up another outstanding Year 13, Mala Cleland. Mala got involved with our programme and spearheaded a lunchtime event during our Recycling Week in October. ‘Guessing the number of waste items found around the school for the chance to win a hamper’, was incredibly popular. The hamper items were generously donated by the Eco Store, the Wise Boys and Karma Drinks and other suppliers. Mala was also involved with the ongoing promotion of our Eco Store bottle drive (FYI – the box for the clean Eco Store empties are in the office foyer).

Thank you goes to two new members, Finn Grace and Harrison Young for doing an amazing job of collecting a good selection of waste from around the school. 

Hot on the heels of Green Jam was Recycling Week. Our fantastic leaders organised the Chip Packet Project and Waiōrea Community Recycling Centre to present on the Terraces over two lunchtimes.

For Wastewise, 2023 was a great year. I do hope I mentioned everyone’s name somewhere. Each individual played a valuable part, no matter how small. I look forward to Wastewise 2024. New members are welcome!

Marie Hickey
Wastewise (TIC)


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