New staff and students: Introducing the Sustainability Office!

Kia Ora! Whether you’re new to campus, or been here a while, you may not have realised that UC has its very own Sustainability Office!


We are an on-campus hub for people interested in creating positive change. We promote sustainable practices (like sustainable transport, re-usable cups); inform (about recycling and waste minimisation practices, social or environmental issues) and host events (like Bike Breakfasts, Fair Trade Fortnight and Zero Waste Living!).

We work on a whole bunch of interesting and important issues, from healthy waterways to bike stands, sustainable transport to waste; and last year we are proud to announce we became a Fair Trade Accredited University community (you’ll find only Fair Trade coffee at UCSA cafes on campus!). We also work closely with the UC Eco Clubs network and do innovative projects, like UC’s compositing coffee cups trial.

We also run the UC Community Gardens (join in with a working bee, Fridays 1-5 pm) which is our very own organic garden on campus, and run weekly Dr Bike sessions on C Block Lawn (yes, they will do your small bike repairs for free!).

So, you could say we are pretty busy…


You’ll find us on Level 2, in the Facilities Management building. Or, keep an eye out for us at Ori Market on O Day, Summer Start Up, and UCSA’s Clubs Days during O Week ’18. We are easy to spot, usually next to the Eco Clubs Network stalls, so come along and say hi!

We have a whole bunch of exciting events planned for 2018, so keep your eyes on our website or Facebook page for more information!

We are always keen to hear from you, so if you have an idea, a question, or want to be involved with sustainability on campus – send us an email!

Otherwise, stay connected: follow us on Facebook or Instagram, or check out our website.




Have an ethical and fair trade Christmas!

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If you’re like us, and realised that Christmas is NEXT WEEK, it’s definitely starting to feel a little overwhelming!  But, fear not, the Sustainability Office has put together this guide to help you have a beautiful, ethical Christmas, with thoughtful gift ideas and tips for enjoying the holidays mindfully.

Christmas is a time of giving. But it’s also a time to use your buying power to support both the people that are important to you and the projects you care about.

We want to challenge you this Christmas, to think critically about what you are really buying for your friends and family. Who actually made this? Where has it come from? What is it made of? What is life like for the person who made this?

Let’s make Christmas more about just giving gifts and spending for the sake of it. Let’s make considered, conscious decisions, and give gifts to our loved ones that they will not only treasure, but are also fair trade, ethical, sustainable, and beautiful.



We’ve attached a few resources to this blog, to help you along the way. Feel free to share this blog with your friends and family, to help them too! We know it’s last minute, but often the best ideas are, right? However you decide to use this guide, we hope it helps you on your journey towards thoughtful living.

Some of my favourite guides and resources to help along the way:

  1. Nozomi Store (side note – my favourite online ethical shop… ever…) and Good Products Cool People (oops, my other fave) have teamed up to bring you the best Ethical Christmas Guide that I have seen yet. Packed with NZ labels that are all ethical, sustainable, and beautiful, this guide is the absolute go-to for gift ideas, and just general inspiration! Check it out below (go full screen).



2.  Good On You – An awesome online resource including a blog, and App (free for IOS and Android – we recommend downloading this for sure!) that allows you to research brands and shop to your values. Check it out before you do any last minute Christmas shopping, you’ll be surprised at what you discover!

Back in 2013 we started talking to people who wanted to buy ‘better’ but didn’t know how. They told us it was too hard to find information about how a brand performed on the issues they care about. So we began building tools to bring this information together in one place in ways that people could easily use – Good On You 2017

Check out the Good On You blog for interesting articles on your favourite brands here.

Here’s some goodies for this time of year: Top ethical gifts for men, and simple ways to give back this holiday season!

And…get the app here! Awesome for not only your Christmas shopping, but also as an every day resource.

And of course, the Ethical Fashion Guide and Report for 2017, from Baptist World Aid and Tearfund. Look no further for updated, detailed information on which companies are doing more to protect their workers. Use it to help you make everyday, ethical purchasing decisions!


Vote with your wallet and encourage more companies to end exploitation in their supply chains.





Ok, so you know how to shop… here’s a few of our favourite spots around Christchurch (and further afield) that stock beautiful, fair trade, ethical products!

Some hot spots for ethical buying in Christchurch (and around New Zealand):

Trade Aid: The best spot for buying Fair Trade, ethical Christmas gifts! Find them in Christchurch at 96 Oxford Terrace (The Container Mall) or have a look at their online shop here. Grocery, homewares, jewellery, Christmas decorations…Trade Aid have it all.

The Paper Rain Project: Another amazing store (with free shipping!) based in Picton. I love this shop because it stocks the perfect amount of fair trade, ethical products, alongside products from local designers (check out the wine barrel skate boards!). See them online here.

The Addington Store: An absolute must visit. A Christchurch institution! Found inside Addington Coffee Co-op (home of Jailbreaker coffee), at 297 Lincoln Road, the Addington Store is a treasure trove ethical products: Trade Aid crafts, jewels, and homewares, the best selection of Scorpio Books imaginable, Freeset T shirts, hoodies and bags, The Loyal Workshop leather products, and just about anything else you can imagine! No online store, but check out their Facebook page here.

Liminal Apparel: The largest stockist for Freeset t shirts, hoodies, long sleeve tees, scarves and bags. Fair trade, organic cotton, and super soft.. you can’t look past these classic tees. Get at them online here.

The Loyal Gift Store: A massive online store that will meet all your Fair Trade, ethical needs… whether it is gifts, or for yourself!

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Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want. – Anna Lappé, activist and writer.

Last but not least: Please don’t forget – the best gifts are ones that come from the heart, and these can be homemade, repurposed, pre-loved, or locally made. This guide is designed to provide a bit of inspiration for where to find ethical gifts this Christmas, but don’t let that stop you from letting your imagination run wild!

At the end of the day, Christmas is really about spending time with the people you care about. Giving gifts is only a tiny part of all the holiday madness- and remember, you can ‘give’ in other ways. Giving your time, giving a hug, giving someone a shoulder to lean on, making a cake, giving a plant or tree, sharing food with those you care about, and giving people a reason to smile – those are all gifts too!

Have a wonderful Christmas, however you are celebrating it. We’ll see you all back in January for another exciting year at the Sustainability Office… boy do we have some treats in store for you!

Safe and happy holidays from all of us.

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This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Connect with us through Facebook or Instagram. Or email us:





Moving flat? Here’s some tips for doing it Skip Free!

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The dreaded skip… heading straight for landfill.

It’s that time of year again… suddenly, the year is over, it’s time to shift out of your flat, and you realise how much junk you have managed to accumulate over the last year (or three). So, what are you going to do with it all?

Even if you aren’t leaving Christchurch and your flat for the summer, there is no doubt it is time for a late spring clean out. It can be pretty overwhelming when you realise just how much ‘stuff’ you actually have, and don’t actually need….

The Sustainability Office has put together a few tips and ideas for how to shift out of your flat in the most sustainable way possible! Our goal is to help you reduce the amount of waste that is unnecessarily sent to landfill as a result of moving flats. Read on to find the best places to take your unwanted furniture, household goods, clothing and general bits and bobs (provided it is in clean, useable condition!).

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The ol’ side of the road trick isn’t going to cut it round here anymore, so check out the list below of charities that will gladly take your belongings off your hands, and give to those in need!

We’ve also put together easy ways to clean your flat using every day household ingredients – no need to buy chemicals from the supermarket (which come in so much packaging!) when nothing beats a bit of baking soda and a lemon!

So, where is the best place to start when you are shifting flats, or moving back home?

The best place to begin is definitely the de-clutter phase. There is no use spending time packing up items that you no longer need or use into millions of boxes, only to unpack them at your new place, and still not need them.

But please, lets not just dump it! There are plenty of other options for your unwanted goods. Remember.. your trash could be someone’s treasure….

I would always recommend a ‘box’  system – you can get free boxes from your local supermarket, have a sniff round their cardboard skips! If they are flattened, all you need is some decent tape.

Have bags or boxes for items you want to keep, boxes for things to be donated or given to friends, a box for recycling, and a box for unavoidable rubbish. Be harsh! If you haven’t used or worn something for six months (or forgot you owned it) then in the donation box it goes….


Lets skip the bubble wrap too eh? If you have items that need to be kept safe during the move, wrap them in your clothes instead! The same goes for bags – you don’t need to use plastic bags to shift. Use your reusable supermarket bags, cardboard boxes, your laundry basket, suitcases… get creative! You can cut handles into the sides cardboard boxes to make them easier to carry.

Best places to take your household goods, furniture, clothing and general bits and pieces:

Follow these links below to find charity stores in your area that will accept your second hand goods! Some of them will even pick up your goods (provided they are in acceptable condition, no mouldy couches please) so there is no excuse to take them to the dump!

  1. Salvation Army Family Stores: The closest one to campus is at 355B Riccarton Road – it’s open Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm, and Saturday 9.30am – 2.30pm. Give them a call on 03-341-8539 to check what they will and won’t accept if you are unsure. If that’s not in your area – check out this map of all the Sallies family stores in Christchurch!
  2. Red Cross Shops: The closest Red Cross Shop is at Church Corner – 14 Yaldhurst Road, Sockburn. Open from 10am-430pm Monday – Friday, and from 10am util 2pm Saturdays. They also offer a pick up service, so give them a call on (03)-341-5379 to arrange a pick up, as well as check what they are accepting at this location.
  3. Habitat for Humanity Stores: they have two locations, 189 Waltham Rd, Sydenham and 567 Wairakei Rd, Burnside. They are open Monday – Friday 10am – 5pm, and Saturdays from 10am until 4pm. The best part is – these guys pick up your donated goods,  so no excuse to be lazy! Call them on (03)-420-4342. Clean out your flat, and know that all profits from Habitat for Humanity goes towards building homes for Christchurch families in need. Win-win.
  4. Christchurch City Mission: based in town, the City Mission is another one to contact for a collection service! Give them a call on (03)-365-0635 to arrange a pick up. They will accept household items, clothing, furniture, bedding etc.


Food banks:

Got a pantry full of food you can’t eat in time? Toiletries you don’t need? Try the Christchurch City Mission Food Bank, they gratefully receive food donations (non perishables) if you call or email ahead and arrange a collection. The City Mission sees around 30 families or individuals per day requiring food assistance.

It’s not exactly on this side of town, but check out this awesome initiative that has come out of New Brighton – The Community Fridge and Pantry!  They aim to keep the shelves always stocked for those in need, so if you have any food to giveaway, and a friend who drives over that side of town, then it is a place worth thinking about. They take non perishables too – just make sure food donations are within the use before date.

On that note – have a read here if you want some ideas around reducing food waste and uneaten leftovers in the first place – The Love Food Hate Waste site has heaps of clever ideas about how to reduce the amount of food that is thrown out of NZ households per year (which is 122,547 tonnes!)


Cleaning your flat – it can be cheaper, and less wasteful than you think!

Hopefully, you’ve boxed up your belongings, called your local charity store, and they have taken away those desk chairs, coffee tables, old desks… and you have recycled everything that you possibly can. Now, the dreaded  final clean (possibly the only flat clean?) remains between you, and summer freedom.

Invest in some reusable spray bottles, a ton of budget white vinegar and a box of baking soda, and you’ll be able to clean almost anything! Avoid using paper towels and cloths that come in plastic packaging – cut up any old ratty clothing lying around home and use it as a rag, plus it can be washed and used again!


  1. Disinfectant:
    – Add 10 drops of tea tree oil to 1 litre of white vinegar.
    – Decant into a spray bottle
    – Spray on to surfaces and wipe off with a clean cloth.
    2. Vinegar Window Cleaner:
    – Mix one tablespoon of white vinegar to one litre of water.
    – Using white vinegar when cleaning glass or windows stops awful streaks from grease build-up.
    3. Remove Lime residue:
    – Electric jugs and irons build up lime deposits over time. When they get really bad, fill them with white vinegar and turn them on.
    – Turn off before rinsing.
    – Rinse it out, fill with fresh water and run it again.
    4. Drain Cleaner:
    – Boil two cups of vinegar and pour it down the drain a small amount at a time.
    – Allow the vinegar to remain in the drain for about 5—10 minutes before pouring a pot of very hot water down the drain.
    – The alternative is to use ½ cup of baking soda poured into the drain followed by ½ cup of warm vinegar.
    – Cover the drain and allow to stand for 5—10 minutes before running cold water down the drain.

General cleaning tips:

– Put an open box of baking soda in your fridge. This will help to get rid of any nasty odours.
– Rubbing baking soda directly onto clothing removes the smell of vomit…
– Lemon juice mixed with vinegar and/or baking powder can be used as a cleaning paste for dishes, surfaces and stains.
– Salt poured directly onto carpet can soak up red wine spills!

So there you have it – some tips for making your moving day (or days) as waste free as possible!

Have any waste free moving day tips? We would love to hear them! Send them through to us on Facebook, or email us, we are always keen to hear from you…

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Connect with us through Facebook or Instagram. Or email us:



Collect, Sow and Grow – The Poroporo Project

On the 28th of October, a team of dedicated volunteers from our Community Garden headed up into the Port Hills to play their part in regenerating native forest following the devastating February 2017 fires. Over 3000 Poroporo seedlings have been planted throughout this project, and UC contributed to over 100 of these seedlings!

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Some of our wonderful volunteers potting up Poroporo seedlings at Okeover Community Garden on campus. No shortage of coffee cups here!




Officially called the “Collect, Sow and Grow Poroporo”, this latest city wide project involved twenty groups of school students, university students and community gardens in Christchurch, and our volunteers from the University’s Okeover Garden are proud to have played their part in it! Organised by the Christchurch City Council and the Port Hills Rangers, six UC students and our garden coordinator, Donna, headed up to Mt Ada to contribute to the Poroporo for the Port Hills. If you would like to read more about the wider project, have a look at the school guide booklet here.

Since February, the Christchurch City Council and various community groups have run huge programs of volunteer planting days at sites badly damaged by fires in the Port Hills. These days have been focussed on planting natives in winter, and volunteers are always needed to maintain the sites in spring and autumn. If you’re feeling like you missed out on our Poroporo planting, and want to get your hands dirty, then check out the City Council’s volunteer page here, or another awesome community group with volunteer opportunities, The Summit Road Society.



Each group was asked to help collect the seeds, process them, sow and then pot the seedlings in bio-degradable coffee cups. What you see pictured is only the beginning!




Now, back to us!

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Our Community Garden Coordinator (and general superstar) Donna, collected the seed in May, through eco-sourcing from mature shrubs in Omahu Bush. The seeds were first sown in June, and germinated in UC’s Grounds Department seed raising facilities.  The Christchurch City Council supplied the compost (huge thanks to them!) and they were potted into coffee cups at a late August and early September working bee in our community garden.

Being a campus full of coffee lovers, sourcing bio-degradable coffee cups for the project was no problem. As many of you know, UC runs a coffee cup composting trial on campus (the blue bins!) and so we were easily able to pinch a pile of them for the project. A few people have asked,  are we pricking out the seedlings before planting, or are we planting the Poroporo out in the coffee cups?

The answer: the entire project is built on the idea of planting out the seedlings still within their coffee cups! For this reason, only certified compostable, and biodegradable coffee cups have been chosen for this project. The main issue with coffee cups, is not the paper walls, but the plastic lining. However, biodegradable cup brands such as Ecoware, BioPak and Innocent Packaging only use a plant based PLA lining in their cups called Ingeo. Have a read about how PLA works with the end of coffee cup life here!

The idea behind this is not only are we finding an awesome way to reuse those pesky single use coffee cups, but also, being biodegradable, we know they will break down in the soil. They will also help keep the seedlings moist, as the sites chosen for planting are incredibly dry at  this time of year. We love the way this project feels like an entire circle for us here at UC!

And why Poroporo? The idea behind planting this species is that it is a quick germinating native shrub, and a pioneering species (a weed to farmers!) that will provide shelter for slower growing natives, and also provide competition for weed species such as broom and gorse. Poroporo also has low flammability, and has purple flowers, which become large fleshy orange fruit that birds love. We reckon this might be a win-win!


poroporo sheltering native
Poroporo sheltering a young native Wineberry – this is what we could see in a few years!
Donna, our Community Garden Coordinator, with some of our UC students at Mt Ada.












Growing the seedlings in bio-degradable coffee cups has to be one of our favourite ways that we have seen single use cups being reused on campus… The Sustainability Office is always interested in ways in which you reuse single use plastics – so be in touch! Send in your pictures to us, through email or to our Facebook page… if you are interested in joining the conversation surrounding the issues of single use plastics, landfill, and what we can do about it, have a read of this article from the Sustainability Office!



A huge thanks to Donna, our wonderful community gardern volunteers, the Christchurch City Council and the Port Hills Rangers for making this project happen. It was a fantastic chance for schools and community groups to get involved with the regeneration efforts, and UC is proud to have been a part of the journey.


Want to be a community garden volunteer? Learn how you can join one of our regular weekly working bees on the UC Community Gardens Facebook page!

For more up -to-date information on planting days and volunteer opportunities, contact the Port Hills ranger Di Carter at 

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Connect with us through Facebook or Instagram. Or email us:

The Story of the Coffee Cup Library

As many of you are probably aware (we hope!) at the beginning of October, the Sustainability Office, with the help of the UCSA launched what we call ‘The Coffee Cup Library’ in an attempt to encourage UC staff and students to ditch single use coffee cups.

You’ll see our Cup Library outside Nuts n Bolts in the Eng Core, and the best part? You’ll get 50c off your coffee just for grabbing a cup, and help us send one less single use cup to landfill…

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New Zealand’s coffee lovers go through 180 million disposable cups PER YEAR! If you’re buying 5 coffees per week, and are using single use takeaway cups every time, thats about 14 kg of waste per person that is going directly to landfill… in just coffee cups. Food for thought huh!

22688748_10155081583087336_9060868163434034364_nWe all know that UC runs a coffee cup composting scheme on campus, I’m sure you have seen the blue bins dotted about. It’s a fantastic initiative to help ensure our compostable takeaway cups on campus are going to the right place (we have diverted over 50,000 cups from landfill so far!). But, how about just not buying that coffee in a single use takeaway cup in the first place? Either make your coffee a break a real ‘break’ by sitting down, bring your own reusable cup, or… borrow one of ours for the day!

Single use plastics – what are they? They are those plastics that we are using for perhaps less an hour, but are staying on our planet forever. Think coffee cups, plastic bags, plastic takeaway containers, straws, balloons, drink bottles…


23380083_10155109672892336_4987290487042791051_nAnd that is exactly where our Coffee Cup Library comes in! Fear not, if you forget to bring in your own reusable cup, the Sustainability Office has the answer for those days (…or everyday) that you forget to bring in your own cup. Now you can grab one of ours, get a 50c discount, enjoy your coffee, and return it to Nuts n Bolts Cafe (who kindly wash it for you) when you’re finished.

We are all human, and even with the best intentions, we can’t remember every thing, right?

Please love and respect our Cup Library, and make sure you return your cups when you have finished with them – it doesn’t have to be straight away, but just remember… we can’t help people make the right choices if we don’t have cups for them to borrow!

Stay caffeinated people! And get on board with us to ditch single use…

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Connect with us through Facebook or Instagram. Or email us:





End of Term Pizza Party!


IPP 9ts not the end of term without an end of term pizza party right?!



Last Friday, our wonderful volunteers celebrated the end of another busy term, by holding a pizza party in our beautiful Okeover Community Garden. With exams on the horizon, it was the perfect chance for everyone to kick back, relax in the sun, catch up with friends, and forget about reality for a little while. And of course, eat delicious woodfired pizza with herbs and veges from the garden…

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With Mental Health Awareness Week just finished, this years theme could not have been more relevant. This year, #MHAW was all about celebrating ‘Nature is Key’, and what better way take a break from exam and study stress than an afternoon spent in the community garden?


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If you need a break from your study this year (or, at any time of year!) our garden is the perfect place to chill out. Bring your lunch, bring a book, have a nap… And if you feel like getting your hands dirty, our regular working bees are on every Friday from 1-5pm, all through the summer. Check out the Community Garden Facebook page for updates on our working bees, and other events on during the year. Another good page to follow (if you don’t already) is UC DigSoc – our official gardening club on campus. Check them out on Facebook too, and you’ll never miss a chance to garden (or eat pizza, if that’s more your thing).

A huge thank you to our wonderful volunteers – whether you have come once, or come every week, we couldn’t do it without you!

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Connect with us through Facebook or Instagram. Or email us:




2017 Sustainability Awards Ceremony

The 2017 Sustainability Awards kicked off yesterday, providing us with a chance to share the achievements of our campus sustainability heroes! Thank you to those who came along and celebrated excellence in sustainability amongst our university community. These awards recognise student and staff efforts to improve the world around us, and make UC more sustainable. It is a truly special occasion when we can all gather together in one place and share our stories, and have a chance to celebrate the incredible work that is being done on campus, and beyond.

A huge thank you to our awesome sponsors – we couldn’t do it without your support!

Holding these awards are incredibly  important because not only does it recognise people for work that often otherwise goes unnoticed, but it also raises the profile of sustainability activities in our community and demonstrates just how much of this great work is happening here. This can be through research projects, community initiatives, departmental resource efficiency leadership, or anything else that demonstrates a willingness and ability to make our place just that bit greener… and for that, we thank you! 

A massive congratulations to all those nominated in this years Sustainability Awards – you should all be truly proud of the work you have achieved, and the changes that you have made. We are lucky to have you!


So, lets kick off with a brief run down of this years winners – and the prizes from our awesome sponsors!

SILVER – STAFF (General) 

Mark Homewood, RRSIC Stormwater Treatment

Academic staff from the Sciences and Engineering departments had a lot of input into the design work for the new RRSIC building, and one of the stand our results from this process is ideas around how stormwater is treated before being discharged into the Okeover / Waiutuutu stream. Projects of this scale are always hugely collaborative, and Mark wins this Silver Staff award as Project Manager for his work in this project.

This piece of work, which creates a new learning environment for students and staff, builds upon the notion of campus as a Stormwater Research Park and 20 years of stream rehabilitation on campus. Mark and his team have not only created learning opportunities on campus, but also have become an example of best practice construction regarding urban waterways for the wider Christchurch rebuild.


Jackson White, The Solar Project 

The idea of getting solar panels on campus buildings seemed like a far off dream, and it was unanticipated that this challenge would be answered by a student… But, that is exactly what happened! Jackson made it his business as sustainability champion on the UC exec to get solar panels on a building here on campus, and achieved this within only a couple of months – an extraordinary achievement.  The judges were hugely impressed with this outcome (as we all were), which has now meant an early learning centre is completely solar powered… an incredible achievement not to be taken lightly. Jackson’s dedication to this project, and the impact that his work has had both within and outside of the the university community, deserves to be recognised as something special.

GOLD – STAFF (Academic)


The judging panel was stunned by the nomination for the CAREX project led by Professor Angus McIntosh and Jon Harding. It was noted that this work is of national importance and is complex, current, and critical. The Canterbury Waterway Rehabilitation Experiment is focussed on improving freshwater sustainability through development and evaluation of restoration solutions for agricultural streams, which as we all know, is surely a massively current issue for Canterbury and NZ at large.

CAREX works with over 20 landowners and farm managers and more than 60 other stakeholders from local government, to NGOs to industry, and their plan is to continue their project and extend their learnings to catchments across the North and South Islands in efforts to address the stressors responsible for declines in freshwater. An incredible initiative that is truly deserving of this award to recognise the hard work, and all that they have achieved.

GOLD – STAFF (General)

Rob Oudshoorn and Engineering Services, Energy Efficiency and Carbon Reduction Initiatives

The Gold Award for General Staff this year went to Rob Oudshoorn and his team in Engineering Services for their work in quietly retrofitting the campus with literally hundreds of interventions that have collectively begun to drive down our carbon profile. Many of these interventions have been around a range of energy efficiency measures which are already in place, as well as the construction which is currently underway for the new Wellness Precinct, which will be low carbon, heated via a ground source heat pump, and a very significant step in shifting away from non renewables. This award goes to Rob and his team for their commitment to the vision of a low carbon future for the University – huge congratulations to you.


Shell Eco Marathon Team

This group of students, with the help of Bruce Robertson, took on a massive challenge to  put in an entry into the Shell Eco Marathon Design Challenge, which was held in Singapore in March.

As the nominator for this entry explained: “Typically teams focus only on the amount of fuel the vehicles uses, but this team took a wider perspective and explored options for whole product life cycle energy use. The result of this was the design and build of a small car that is the first in the world to be made entirely from recyclable thermoformed plastic sheets. Selection of this material supports reduction in energy consumption at three stages, those being the initial manufacture, service life, and end of life.”  The judges were very impressed by the huge challenge of pulling the project together in a short space of time, and also by the outcome: a working model that could improve sustainability outcomes for transport internationally. An innovative and inspiring entry into this years Awards Ceremony, and very deserving of the Gold Student Award for 2017.


Selva Ganapathy and Joyce Chen, The Fog Water Harvesting Project 

This year’s Fair Trade Diamond Award goes to Selva and Joyce for their extraordinary vision and commitment in solving an urgent problem in many impoverished communities throughout the developing world: access to clean drinking water. They have undertaken social and environmental development work, with a low environmental impact.

Inspired by the Warka Water Tower project, Selva began to explore the possibilities of fog harvesting in Tamilnadu, India. Stories about the farmers’ suicide in the drought-hit regions were the motive behind beginning to research about water conservation and water-related work.

The project is still in the implementation stage in India. They will be presenting their idea at Schneider Electrical’s Go Green in the City 2017 competition global finals in Paris next month.

The judges found this an incredible proposition, and felt it fitting that this year’s Fair Trade Diamond award be given to Selva and Joyce as their work will directly benefit communities in the developing world, and potentially those least able to deal with the coming effects of catastrophic climate change.

And finally… the SUPREME AWARD goes to:

Glynne Mackey, Sustainability and Social Justice 

Glynne Mackey is a lecturer in teacher education, and from 2004 to present day, has been developing courses for early childhood (EC) and primary teachers on sustainability, social justice and ecojustice. From 2004 all EC students have had a compulsory Year 3 course in sustainability and now this is open to primary students. In the sustainability course, students are challenged in their personal attitudes around sustainability and environmental behaviour as well as what this means for the professional teacher.

Students are encouraged to be sustainability leaders in their school or centre and ensure children have opportunities to realise their own competence and agency in making a difference for a better future. The course has evolved, beginning as more of a focus on environmental education in 2004, and as worldwide understandings towards environmental issues have changed, it has become more integrated with understandings of social justice and eco justice.

The judges were acutely aware of the drive, determination and dedication Glynne has demonstrated for well over a decade in this area, which has shaped the face of education for sustainability in Aotearoa. The impact this has had on sustainability literacy amongst our children and young adults is hard to quantify, but undoubtedly huge. With this, the judges agreed that she is worthy of this award, and so much more.


This was a simply fantastic event celebrating the work that is being done both within our University community, and outside of it. At the sustainability office, we are already looking forward to 2018! A huge congratulations to this years winners and nominees from everyone at the Sustainability Office.

Of course, we couldn’t have done this without our awesome and generous sponsors… our sustainability heroes this year went home with their hands full of some epic prizes!



So, a massive shout out to this years 2017 Sustainability Awards sponsors – 

Trade Aid

Alice Cinematheque

The Lotus Heart 


Arahura Greenstone Tours 

Piko Wholefoods 

New Zealand Kiwi Centre

Dux Central

Cassel and Son Brewery

Hokitika Regent Theatre 

The Urban Monk


Karma Cola 

Hokitika Holiday Park


Office Max

Little High Eatery 

Scenic Waterways 

And all the fantastic nominees, and those that nominated our deserving sustainability heroes – we thank you!

See you all next year, for another celebration of all things sustainable here at UC.

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