Te Tai Tokerau is not just a stunning part of the country; there are active waste-conscious people and projects at every turn. In fact, legend has it that the idea of zero waste was born in the Far North of Aotearoa thanks to Warren Snow (and his Australian counterpart, Gerry Gillespie). This legacy is strong in a swathe of both older and newer generations of waste-conscious individuals, groups and businesses across Northland.
One of the main challenges confronting people of Northland who want to reduce household waste is a lack of shopping options and services in some areas, such as Hokianga. While this guide will still be useful for these people (e.g. stocking up on low-waste groceries during trips to other areas), it’s always worth reminding everyone that zero waste is about much more than just where to shop; it’s about refusing and reducing those things that cause us to produce waste in the first place, and finding solutions and support within your community to enable less wasteful living. At the end of each district in this guide, we’ve added lists of groups who can help you start and/or progress waste reduction in your local area.
It’s also worth noting that in areas where there are fewer options for low-waste shopping, signing up to/starting a co-op, where food can be bought in in bulk amongst a group of friends or like-minded people, is a good way to reduce waste. The Whangārei Food Coop would be great to talk to if you want some support with the set-up (even if you didn’t intend to be as huge and public-facing as this co-op).
However, we have done our best to find options even in very remote areas, like the amazing Bush Fairy Dairy in Peria, to show what is possible off the beaten track! Of course, we won’t have found everything, so as always, please get in touch if you know of shops, businesses, growers and craftspeople who we might have missed.
The guide is divided into the three districts of Northland (click on the area most relevant to you – in each link you can also opt to view the information on an interactive map!):