$3m grant for low-waste marae initiative

A $3 million grant from the Community Environment Fund to Para Kore’s oranga taiao (healthy environment) project demonstrates the potential of te ao Māori approaches and grass roots partnership to support environmental progress, Secretary for the Environment Vicky Robertson said today.

“This funding will support Para Kore’s Whakapapa ki a Papatūānuku project to scale up the delivery of an amazing marae-based education and training programme that supports whānau, hapū and iwi to reduce waste in their rohe,” Ms Robertson said.

“The project will run for four years with the long-term goal of empowering people to design waste out of their communities – on their own terms. This is achieved through an empowering and inclusive approach featuring wānanga (workshops), waste audits, installation of reuse equipment and on-going mentoring.

“We are honoured to be partnering with Para Kore as they expand and take their special mahi to more communities.”

Para Kore’s General Manager, Jacqui Forbes said it was a big step forward for Para Kore.

“This grant will enable us to support even more marae and organisations across Aotearoa to reduce their waste,” she said.

“Our innovative, educational programme is delivered from a Māori worldview and helps to ‘de-normalise’ the throwaway, linear, industrialised systems which are so harmful to people and Papatūānuku.

“It’s important to support the transmission of knowledge so that it is appropriately centralised around Māori communities. Para Kore works to normalise te ao Māori practices which includes strengthening our connection with the environment and caring for the natural world.

“In the face of extreme environmental degradation, the need to draw on and build mātauranga Māori is essential. As such, Para Kore realises the need to engage in our whakapapa to inform how we carry out our responsibilities.”

The Community Environment Fund empowers New Zealanders to make a positive difference to the environment. It supports projects that strengthen environmental partnerships, raise environmental awareness and encourage participation in environmental initiatives in the community.

Since 2009, Para Kore has worked with marae to increase the reuse, recycling and composting of materials. The programme operates in 541 marae and other organisations in 17 regions throughout North Island and the top of South Island. 

The Government also supports Para Kore through the Waste Minimisation Fund.