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Kickstarting Kaitaia Kete

Please vote for us to receive a share of $4,000 from Z Kaitaia!

Getting Kaitaia free of single use plastic by 2020 is a project the EcoCentre is working on in conjunction with several other community groups, including CBEC Ecosolutions, Para Kore and the Corrections Dept. You may have already come across beeswax wraps to use instead of clingwrap, and produce bags for fruit and veg etc. The Kaitaia Kete project is part of this campaign, promoting the use of alternatives to plastic carrier bags. You may have seen t-shirt bags in Kaitaia Library, the EcoCentre or Salvation Army already – we’re keen to get other places on board! We had our first bag sewing bee led by Jo Shanks of CBEC Ecosolutions at Far North REAP yesterday and these will be held fortnightly, do pop along and make yourself a reusable bag from up-cycled materials as well as bags for community use.

Under the wing of Te Pokapū Taiao o Te Tai Tokerau Trust (aka Far North Environment Centre – the trust that runs the EcoCentre) we are of the one of the four groups being supported through Good in the Hood at Z Kaitaia. That means we’ll get a share of $4,000but how much depends on how many votes we get.

To vote for us, all you need to do is buy something from Z Kaitaia during May and you’ll be given an orange token to put in the voting box (or if you’re a Z card holder, you’ll get two votes!).

Concept design for the logo

So what is Kaitaia Kete?

We’d come across Boomerang Bags that started in Australia and wanted to start something similar here. But we wanted a name that fit in with #IloveKaitaia and bolstering local pride rather than borrowing from another indigenous culture. Our Kaitaia Kete logo was designed by Waikarere Gregory and the logo patches are being locally printed by Manaia Designs. Initially the logo will be on reusable shopping bags that are for sale, but we’re planning to get workshops set up to screen print directly on to the t-shirt bags etc. The plan is to follow this up with affordable Kai-taia Kawhe (travel cups) and Kai-taia Wai (water bottles), all of which require some funding up front, hence the Good in the Hood appeal.

The idea instead of taking a single use plastic bag you put your shopping into a reusable cloth bag. Eventually we’d like to reach the point where if you didn’t bring one with you you can grab one from the handy supply available at most places around town! If you find they’re piling up at home and you have more than you need, drop off your spares at Kaitaia Library, the EcoCentre or Salvation Army for them to go back into the system, or pass them on to friends and whānau.

How else can you help?

Our bags are being made by a team of volunteers, bolstered by a team at Corrections, and there is now a fortnightly sewing bee at Far North REAP on a Thursday 4-6pm for anyone to drop in and help out. There are plenty non-sewing tasks if you aren’t confident using a sewing machine! If you have any suitable clean material you could donate for making bags such as curtain offcuts (or old curtains in good condition, not weakened by the sun – if it rips easily when tugged we can’t use it), calico, canvas, strong cotton etc please drop it off at CBEC EcoSolutions for the attention of Jo Shanks, or here at the EcoCentre.

Why do we need them?

With supermarkets nationwide starting to go ‘plastic bag free’, the Bags Not NZ challenge growing, and society at large becoming more aware of the problems plastic bags cause in our environment, Kaitaia Kete is one way we can help our community transition away from a reliance on plastic. The bags are made with materials people already have sitting around in their stash not being used at home, donated and picked up in op shops rather than newly bought cloth which improves their carbon footprint. The textile industry itself is very energy and water intensive so we need to make the best of what is already out there.

Where can you find Kaitaia Kete?

We’re still waiting for the logo patches to be printed, although we do already have a selection of snazzy cloth shopping bags anyway at the EcoCentre. The t-shirt bags area already available at the EcoCentre, Kaitaia Library, the Salvation Army and Whānau Meats. We’re working on getting them available at the Saturday market. We’re keen to get them in other places too, although that also depends on production being able to keep up with demand! Please get in touch with Jo at CBEC Ecosolutions or Waikarere at the EcoCentre if you’d like to be a Kaitaia Kete stockist.

Keep your eyes peeled for more plastic-free ideas that we’ll be promoting over the coming months.

So please head down to Z Kaitaia during May and vote for us! You can also support us by encouraging people you know to vote too by posting on Facebook or Twitter.

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