People’s climate march Auckland

peoples climate actionAs part of a historical global movement, on Sunday 21st September 2014 at 1pm from Britomart Train Station to Aotea Square, we, the people, will come together to help show the WORLD that WE CARE ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE! The Auckland People’s Climate March will show Aotearoa’s own leaders that we care deeply about climate change and what that climate change is doing to our planet Earth. The marches from all over the world will be seen by the delegates at the UN Climate Summit , including the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama himself at the New York City meeting.

People from over 100 different countries are going to March for Climate Change in their towns and cities and will send at the photos and digital footage to Avaaz who will present it, to the UN delegation on the 23rd September in NYC.

Come and join together to show the world Auckland, New Zealand cares about the Earth! Wear a green heart (the international symbol for the day) and make a banner or sign for the UN delegates to see! There will be music and performers at Aotea Square – bring the whole family – children are most welcome! More entertainment to be announced…

Spread the word by sharing this event with your Facebook friends, telling others about the event, tweeting @climatemarchAKL or any other means you can to increase the groundswell of interest. Be part of history on the 21st September 2014!

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Update on the campaign to ban single use plastic bags in Auckland

Steph Borrelle presenting to Auckland Council. Photo Credit: Cathy Casey

Steph Borrelle presenting to Auckland Council. Photo Credit: Cathy Casey

As California moves to ban single use plastic bags and the threat of plastic in our oceans grows greater the campaign in Auckland builds momentum. Grey Lynn 2030 Waste Away is supporting Steph Borelle’s petition to ban plastic bags.  Last week she presented to the public forum of the Environment, Climate Change and Natural Heritage Committee. In response the Committee has requested that officers evaluate options and recommend actions for the minimisation of single-use plastic bag use in Auckland and report back to the committee.

Colinda Rowe, Chair of Grey Lynn 2030 reports on Plastic Bag Free Day held in July

Grey Lynn went plastic bag free for a day on Thursday 31st July and the Grey Lynn 2030 Waste Away group was overwhelmed with the support that this initiative gained!  Most of the 40 or so retailers we approached were keen to take part and the two Countdown supermarkets – Williamson Ave and Richmond Road also joined this initiative, completing removing all plastic bags from their checkouts on the day and offering customers reusable cloth bags instead.

Waste Away team plastic bag free dayWandering around the Grey Lynn and West Lynn shopping precincts on the day it was great to see locals using cloth bags or simply carrying a couple of loose items.  Retailers reported that most of their customers were happy to go without plastic bags for a day and received many positive comments on the initiative.  We hope this will encourage our community to reduce their plastic bag usage on an ongoing basis.

The day coincided with the handing over of a petition calling for a ban of plastic bags in Auckland to Mayor Len Brown.  The petition was spearheaded by marine biologist Steph Borelle, who wants to see the introduction of a bylaw that will phase out single use plastic bags in the city over the coming years.  More than 3,300 people signed the petition.

The movement to ban plastic bags continues to gain traction across the world.  Bangladesh was one of the first, banning plastic bags in 2002 after they were found to be partially responsible for the flooding that submerged most of the country by clogging up drains.  Many other cities/countries around the world, including Ireland, Rwanda, India and several states in Australia are either banning plastic bags or imposing a fee.

Plastic bags are extremely harmful for the environment—they choke wildlife, they don’t break down in landfills, they add to our demand for oil and they are hard to recycle  Yet, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used around the world every year.  The ridiculous thing is that most of these bags are used for around 15-20 minutes and then take up to 1,000 years to break down in landfill.

Auckland retailers support plastic bag free movement. TVNZ coverage of plastic bag free day

Plastics may pose a greater threat than climate change - NZ Herald 27 August 2014

Interested in getting involved? email

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Grey Lynn Farmers Market turns 5

The Grey Lynn Farmers Market opened the doors for the first time on 9 September 2009 at the Grey Lynn Community Centre.

For our 5th birthday celebrations on Sunday 14 September we would like to extend a big thank you all those who have supported the market over the years and welcome everyone to the party.  From 9am – 12.30pm there will be live local music, a market birthday cake, prizes, fun for the kids and lots of specials.

Grey Lynn Farmers Market 5th birthday

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Look who’s signed up for Plastic Bag Free Day!

Both Countdown supermarkets in Grey Lynn are supporting  Waste Away’s Plastic Free July initiative as well as many of the other fantastic retailers in Grey Lynn – NO plastic bags on 31st July …. and if you feel truly inspired, try cutting them out of your life altogether!!

Other retailers to sign up include:

  • Farmville
  • Lucy Mae’d

Why not ask your local retailer to sign up too!

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The end of an era at the Wilton St Community Garden

WILTON ST COMMUNITY GARDEN update first appeared in Ponsonby News 

A very special era has come to an end at the Wilton Street Community Garden. Sarah Guppy who took over coordinating the garden from founder Mandy McMillan writes about why the time has come to move on from this wonderful community hub.

For over five years the Wilton Street Community garden has transformed a piece of land behind the Gypsy Tea Room in West Lynn.  All good things come to an end, and like the seasons, this garden is preparing for the next chapter. I’ve decide to move on from the garden after many wonderful years. Energy, time, desire, community, all these things are needed to keep the garden going.

If the garden could talk it would make a fascinating book, or a long fireside conversation. During the flourishing of the garden many communities used the space for meetings, birthday parties, Christmas gatherings, workshops on compost making, council discussion on compost and community gardens, fruit tree plans for Grey Lynn Park, soil testing, campaign rallies, the children’s garden for butterflies and lizards, barbeques for anniversaries, and the devotion of 100s of hours of volunteer gardening.

These are some of the activities undertaken through goodwill and community support:

  • ‘Closed for Good’ BNZ Community project (volunteers helped clear the site)
  • Picket fence donated by Silver Fern Landscapes
  • Water tank donated by ‘Tanks a lot’
  • Downpipe diverter given by John and Brenda to bring water from the Gypsy Tea Room roof to the water tank
  • Two macrocarpa boxes for raised bed made and installed by Peter Nuske.
  • Pallets collected and made into compost stalls
  • Bricks given from a chimney for making beds
  • Wood chips donated from a tree fella
  • Food waste regularly brought to the community compost from local cafes and residents
  • Western Bays Community Board funding for picnic tables and plants
  • Grass clippings from lawn mowing man for compost
  • Plants donated by strangers
  • Wilton Street Community Garden honey sold at the Grey Lynn Farmers Market

During our time there was only one event of vandalism.  A banana tree was uprooted and thrown into the street some years ago. We planted it again, and not only did it take root, but this summer it produced the most beautiful lemon tasting bananas!

I would like to acknowledge the dedication of the founders, Mandy McMulllin and Dave Gilbert who gave tirelessly to establish a special place for all creatures great and small.

Thanks to the friends who worked in the garden Adele, Margo, Peter, Vonney, Angela, Kate, Jane, Sally, Dean, Terry, Tom, Ruben, Carol and her bees and many people travelling and passing through  who visited to learn from the community .

The new owners of the old Wine Vault shop Jody and Stuart (now the Crow Pop up shop)  and Brett from Gypsy Tea Room generously allow the garden to continue on their land. Plans are underway for the next chapter to involve local children in the joy of gardening. Volunteers are always welcome.

Sarah Guppy (

Thanks to everyone for their support –Sarah Guppy (

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Plastic Bag Free Auckland

Susanna Stoddart and her GLFM bagThis article first appeared in the June edition of Ponsonby News 

Grey Lynn 2030 Waste Away (GLWA) is an action group of Grey Lynn 2030 comprised of passionate locals tackling issues around waste minimisation and education, particularly in our area.   We have been called “Eco Ninjas” which is a pseudonym we feel perfectly reflects our mission to save the planet!

In May members of our group attended a Plastic Bag Free Auckland public meeting at the Grey Lynn Community Centre.  Denise Roche MP from the Green Party hosted the meeting, along with Steph Borrelle who is a marine biologist here in Auckland.  This gathering brought people together from across Auckland to discuss how we can join other progressive cities around the globe and become plastic bag free.   As Steph so eloquently put it, “Chaos has not ensued, people have coped and the world has gone on, just with less plastic bags.”

It was surprising to learn that the first country to enforce a strict ban was Bangladesh in 2002 after two thirds of the country was submerged in water from floods caused by plastic bags blocking waterways and sewerage systems.

Recently Steph initiated an on-line petition calling for Auckland to Ban the Bag.  GLWA supports this initiative and we urge everyone to take a moment to sign and share through social media.  The petition here “Mayor Len Brown Ban the Bag.” There is also a petition at the Grey Lynn Farmers Market.

Building on the Grey Lynn Farmers Market move towards zero waste to landfill, the GLWA is keen to get involved with helping the West Lynn shopping precinct go plastic bag free this “Plastic Free July.”  During this month we encourage everyone to refuse single-use and take the pledge to:  remember your own shopping bags, reusable coffee cups and reusable drink bottles. 

Mark Thursday, 31st July in your diary.  For the last day of Plastic Free July GLWA would like all shops in our area to provide an alternative for customers to plastic shopping bags.  This is your opportunity to embrace the concept of a Plastic Shopping Bag Free Auckland and feel good knowing you haven’t used an item that will take 1000 years to degrade.

You can find GLWA at the Grey Lynn Farmers Market every week (except the last Sunday of the month) to offer advice and provide answers to environmental questions.  We also have a range of items for sale including bokashi buckets, string bags and ideal cups. To learn more check out  and Facebook “Grey Lynn Waste Away.”  Our meetings are held on the first Tuesday of every month at the Grey Lynn RSC.   We welcome new members to get involved with our action group working together towards a greener, more resilient neighbourhood.

Lisa Cohen-Smith

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