2021 Tāmaki Makaurau Zero Waste Awards

A huge congratulations to everyone who we had the privilege of celebrating at the 2021 Tāmaki Makaurau Zero Waste Awards evening on Thursday 29 July 2021.

114 individuals, groups, schools, marae, local businesses and social enterprises were nominated for this year’s awards, which recognise those doing great things to help Auckland achieve its vision of zero waste by 2040.

From food to fabric, construction waste to the circular economy, the amazing stories of those working to reduce waste to landfill across Tāmaki Makaurau were told.

Read more about the awards evening on OurAuckland.

2021 Winners and Highly Commended Awards

Rangatahi Leadership – Rangatahi, rangawhenua, rangatangata

This award celebrates individuals or groups of rangatahi (young people under 18 years) who are showing commitment and leadership in reducing waste in their community.

Winner: Faiesea Ah Chee (pictured below) was President of the Kelston Girls High School Environmental Committee during 2020, leading waste minimisation activities including a waste audit which provided compelling evidence to the school’s Board of Trustees to set up recycling stations. She is vocal in her support for climate action and regularly returns to her old high school to support this year’s committee members.

Highly Commended: Children’s Ark Early Childhood Education in Torbay is helping its children learn about being kaitiaki and is striving towards embedding zero waste practices throughout all they do with outstanding leadership from manager Sue Trace and her team. They are supported in this through Hibiscus Coast Zero Waste’s Early Childhood Education Zero Waste programme, funded by the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board.

Growing the Movement – Whakakanohi i te kaupapa para kore

This award celebrates local heroes (individuals or groups) raising awareness, inspiring change and spreading their tautoko of the zero waste kaupapa.

Winner: Joseph Youssef (pictured below) is the founder, Chief Encourager and trustee of All Heart NZ Charitable Trust. All Heart NZ partners with corporates to practically redirect and repurpose redundant and unwanted items. In helping build up All Heart NZ, Joe has become an advocate for zero waste, encouraging businesses to set up more sustainable procurement processes. In the last four years, All Heart NZ has supported their corporate partners to divert more than 3,000 tonnes of ‘stuff’ – that’s about the same weight as 30 blue whales! It’s also created employment for 20 people and more than 50 volunteers.

Highly Commended: Juliet Dale uses her social media channels and public workshops, under the banner of The Great Eco Journey, to share her own family’s efforts to become more sustainable. She has more than 5,500 followers on Instagram and 1,800 followers on Facebook.

Highly Commended: Shay Lawrence founded CaliWoods, a social enterprise selling eco products to replace single-use counterparts, and inspiring environmental behaviour change. In 2020, they sold 48,707 reusable items, which they estimate diverted at least one million plastic or single use items from use.

Highly Commended: Ger Tew founded The ReCreators, a social enterprise promoting a circular economy by helping others to use redundant materials to make new items. In just over two years, they’ve run hundreds of workshops equipping people with the skills to move towards a circular economy.

Community Collaboration – Hā ora, Hāpori

This award recognises businesses or social enterprises who are ‘walking the talk’ by demonstrating a commitment in building community partnerships to reduce waste.

WinnerPerfectly Imperfect Charitable Trust was launched in March 2020 by Wendy Zhou (pictured below), with the belief that ‘ugly is the new tasty’. It tackles the issue of pre-harvest food loss by gleaning produce that would otherwise go to waste and redistributing it to those in need. So far, their Imperfect Rescue Programme has more than 190 members who together have rescued more than 79,000kg of imperfect fruit and veggies that would otherwise have gone to waste.

Highly Commended: Naylor Love, is a commercial construction company that is setting up innovative community partnerships and initiatives, driven by Annie Day, to tackle construction waste. In the last year, they’ve mobilised their team of 146 people to achieve their target of repurposing or recycling 80 percent of the waste their projects generate. One of the projects took place in partnership with Mitre 10 Mega, and Unitec (Environmental Solutions Research Centre).

Highly Commended: Papatūānuku Kōkiri Marae puts waste minimisation into action through repurposing and education, in turn inspiring other community groups and marae to minimise waste. In the past 12 months, they’ve educated 2,300 community members about waste minimisation.

Highly Commended: Sustainable Salons was launched in New Zealand in 2018 to help the salon and beauty industry to be more waste-conscious and sustainable. More than 100 salons from Auckland, Waikato Bay of Plenty and Whangarei are already signed up and collectively they’ve helped keep 50,000 kg of waste out of landfill so far.

Cultural Connection – Whīria te ahurea, whīria te kaitīakitanga

This award recognises those individuals or groups using culturally appropriate approaches to educate, inspire and care for their communities to reduce waste.

Winner: Victoria Azaro (pictured below) founded the Travelling Sewing Box Project to foster belonging and help migrants sustain their traditions, and use fabric that would otherwise go to waste. A recent project saw a group of refugee women from Iraq create a series of upcycled fabric books, into which they stitched their migration stories. Repurposing fabric helps ensure every piece of fabric is treated with respect and love, and saved from landfill. By working with women from ethnically diverse backgrounds, Victoria helps create a space for everyone to share and socialise, and encourage a sense of belonging and settlement in New Zealand.

Highly Commended: Tara Moala, Service and System Designer at Tāmaki Regeneration helped develop New Zealand’s first house deconstruction and renovation centre, offering young local people a stepping stone into the construction industry. This initiative also keeps 25 tonnes of demolition waste out of landfill for every house saved.

Highly Commended: Susan Li Kwan founded the Epsom Chinese Association and is instrumental in encouraging members to participate in a huge range of environmental activities, from repair cafes, tree planting days, beach clean ups and more.

Highly Commended: Estella Lee founded the Chinese Conservation Education Trust and is a community legend, working to connect the Chinese community with conservation efforts in New Zealand. She was awarded a Queen’s Service Medal for her work to connect communities and cultures in the conservation space.

Innovation – Anga whakamua

Supported by Sustainable Salons.

This award recognises initiatives demonstrating the circular economy in action and ‘making it happen’ through demonstrable results.

Joint Winners: The Link Alliance is the lead contractor delivering the City Rail Link and TROW Group, a business specialising in deconstruction and soft strip of buildings. By working together, more than 58 tonnes of usable materials were salvaged from buildings needing to be demolished or relocated for the City Rail Link construction project. These materials were then shipped to Tonga and used to rebuild community buildings following Cyclone Gita. Another 18,000 tonnes of materials were recovered and recycled, with just 410 tonnes of waste going to landfill, which equates to a phenomenal 98 percent diversion rate!

Highly Commended: The Sustainable Food Co. is a plant-based zero waste event catering company providing contemporary, creative and sustainable food and drink to Auckland’s event scene. In one year, they’ve catered for 148 events, which in turn has helped keep 19,421 pieces of packaging waste out of landfill.

Ko te rongoā kei roto i ō tātua ringa

(Already in our hands are the remedies, a quote from John Te Rangi-Āniwaniwa Rangihau)

A special posthumous award given to commemorate Richelle Kahui-McConnell’s contribution to Auckland’s zero waste community.

Richelle, pictured left, was instrumental in helping Auckland Council to engage with Mana Whenua and matāwaka to ensure their priorities and Te Ao Māori were woven through the 2018 Waste Management and Minimisation Plan.

She also contributed to many different organisations to help reduce waste, and established Para Kore ki Tāmaki as a leader in working collaboratively with marae and whānau, delivering workshops and providing resources to help Māori communities minimise waste.

The reo framing for our awards was generously undertaken by Reno Skipper, who as a kaiako (teacher) is dedicated to the well-being of his community of Kaipara. Inspiring people of all ages in their journey of rediscovery of te reo Māori. Thank you Reno. To learn more about Reno, watch this short video.


Rangatahi Leadership – Rangatahi, rangawhenua, rangatangata
Si Le Joy School
Parnell District School Sustainability Squad
Mission Heights Primary Enviro Team
Wakaaranga School
Tara Pene – The Hustle Project

Growing the Movement – Whakakanohi i te kaupapa para kore
Nga Taonga Aroha Early Childhood Centre
Felila Taufa – TROW Group
Friends of the Farm, Mangere Bridge
Sarah O’Donnell – Orewa College
Helen Parkes – Waste Free Leigh
Bindi Chouhan
Judith Rosamund – Hobsonville Community Compost Hub
Victor Loong
Kel Hartell – Northcross Intermediate School
Danielle Hancock – New Zealand Biosecurity Services Ltd
Brigitte Sistig
Jacqui Lees – Pakuranga Baptist Kindergarten
Beccy Long – Howick Primary School
Maya Carryer – Kauri Park School
Janelle Blackmore – Triangle Park Community Teaching Garden
Dorothy Fitzgerald – Ostend Market Zero Waste, Waiheke Island
Kayleigh Appleton – Waiheke Resources Trust
Koha Kahui-McConnell – Para Kore ki Tāmaki
Coralie Archer – Practically Green
Annie Day – Naylor Love
Madeleine Cull
Vaishali Jain
Sue Ollerton – Sustainable Papakura
Haley Lowe – O TE MOTU Creations
Lisa Te Paa
Louise Garbett – Auckland Family Freecycle
Ronja Schipper
Delayne Salthouse – Wakatere Boating Club
Anne Welsh – West Auckland Resource Centre
Kathryn Lawlor – MPHS Community Trust
Liza Zapata – Manaaki Tangata (ME Family Services)
Tokowha Tehuia – Love Soup Charitable Trust
Sharni Ware – Enjo North
Debbie McCreath – Sancta Maria College
Suzanne Kendrick – Grey Lynn 2030 Car Boot Market
Pragna Patel – Satya Sai International Organisation

Community Collaboration – Hā ora, Hāpori
Hibiscus Coast Zero Waste
MARC Early Learning Centre
The Food Hub Collective
Soil Factory
Waiheke Resources Trust
S Double S Services
Titirangi Market Zero Waste Group – Titirangi Rudolf Steiner School
Para Kore ki Tāmaki
Joint entry for the nine Auckland Community Recycling Centres: Waiuku Zero Waste, Helensville, Devonport, Mahurangi Wastebusters – Warkworth and Wellsford, Envirokiwi Community Enterprise Trust, Henderson Tipping Point, Hibiscus Coast Zero Waste, Island Waste Collective.
All Heart Stores
Love Soup Charitable Trust
Art of Living
Eco Wed
Accelerating Aotearoa
Manurewa Waste Champions

Cultural Connection – Whīria te ahurea, whīria te kaitīakitanga.
Gardens4Health – Diabetes Foundation Aotearoa
Bianca Ranson – Piritahi Marae
Papatoetoe Food Hub
Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei – Pourewa Whenua Team
Hamilton Estate Community Hall – Tuwhera Trust and Marahou Trust
Art of Living NZ
Anil Singh – Ram Mandir
Sasi Syed Niyamathullah – Belong Aotearoa
Judi Sixsmith – Glenbrook School
Abeer Khankan – English Language Partners North Shore

Innovation – Anga whakamua, supported by Sustainable Salons
26 Aroha Apartments
Ecostock Supplies Ltd
The Therapy Box
Re Fab Cabins Limited
Phil and Jenny Grainger – Kahurangi Ridge Farm
Kennedy Brown
Outliv Studio
Naylor Love, Mitre10 Mega, Unitec (Environmental Solutions Research Centre)
Dr Terri-Anne Berry
Nina Darrah – I Used To Be
Deep Creek Brews and Eats / Browns Bay Breweries
Tara Moala – Tāmaki Regeneration
Fair Food Charitable Trust
Soil Factory – Kelmarna Gardens
City to Farm
Hibiscus Coast Zero Waste
Mint Innovation
All Heart NZ
Salters Cartage Limited
Papatūānuku Kōkiri Marae
Eco Wed
Lynn Dunbar – Farm Cove Intermediate
Everybody Eats


The 2021 Tāmaki Makaurau Zero Waste Awards were generously supported by:

Kia ora and thanks to 

The 2021 awards steering group; Kate Hall (Ethically Kate), Kathleen Ng Shiu (Pacific Vision Aotearoa), Kathy Yan (Ethnic Peoples Advisory Panel), Koha Kahui-McConnell (Para Kore ki Tāmaki), Shannon Otene and SJ Murray (EcoMatters) and Rebecca Harrington (Auckland Council Community WasteWise team).

The 2021 awards judging panel; Charmaine Bailie (Uru WhakaaroPara Kore ki Tāmaki), Damon Birchfield (EcoMatters), Kristy Lorson (EarthSavvy), Parul Sood (Auckland Council, Waste Solutions General Manager).

The Tāmaki Makaurau Zero Waste Awards are made possible thanks to Auckland Council, in support of Auckland’s vision of zero waste by 2040.