Ditching plastic, the cool new movement.

 

By Grace Ellis

Tidy kiwis abandon single-use plastic bags and opt for eco-friendly alternatives.

Reusable grocery bags are becoming the latest trend making an impression on Clean Green New Zealand.

According to the Auckland Council, NZ uses a staggering 1.6 billion plastic bags every year.

A little shop with big ideas, GoodFor Wholefoods Refillery, located in Ponsonby, is inspiring this change, being New Zealand’s first entirely plastic-free store.

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GoodFor Refillery, the cool new sustainable store. Photo / Grace Ellis

A healthy and sustainable lifestyle being the main drive he wanted to instil on others, the 29-year-old founder and director of the refillery, James Denton, decided to open the store in hopes of spreading awareness and making a difference, by encouraging people to bring their own refillable containers and bags or purchase them through the store.

“Although it takes a lot of time and responsiveness for people to actually start acting, society is definitely becoming more aware of the vast impact our waste is having on the environment”.

The public has praised the store for going green, saying that the “cool factor” of GoodFor is a smart way of bringing the idea of reusable items to mainstream society.

“If it’s on trend and cool at the same time, it captures those who put their social status in precedence over the environment as well as those who already care for the environment”, Denton says.

Next door to the Countdown supermarket, Ponsonby manager, André, said that he has noticed a large decrease in the amount of plastic bags being used in recent years, with people feeling more inclined to turn to ethical alternatives.

Introducing soft plastic recycling in November 2015, customers are encouraged to drop off their soft packaging, including plastic bags, to participating stores, ultimately reducing the amount of waste going into landfills.

With over 25 million bags in 2016 given back for recycling, shoppers are beginning to develop a better consciousness for the environment.

Denton believes that it’s unlikely large supermarket chains will ever become entirely plastic-free as his store is, but a plastic-bag ban does look possible.

Countdown Waiheke, announced news of a plastic bag ban in 2015 and André believes that in the future, other locations will follow suit, with people discovering sustainable living trends.

Denton hopes that in the future he can further use his influence to produce materials that are actually sustainable – keeping your food fresh but is biodegradable and water soluble.

References:

https://www.countdown.co.nz/community-environment/environmental-sustainability/plastic-bags

http://www.recycling.kiwi.nz/soft-plastics

http://ourauckland.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/articles/news/2016/07/please-no-plastic-bags/

 

Uni student set up for failure.

 

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Reluctant resignation Photo/ Grace Ellis 

 

An Auckland student was sent home in tears after being forced to leave university within the first week.

Sryne Wood, 20, a fresher at Auckland’s Massey University, was to start studying a Bachelor of Health Science on February 27th, hoping to major in Human Nutrition.

Accepted into the degree within 2 weeks of her application, Wood explained she didn’t hear from Massey again until the annual Orientation Week emails rolled out.

Being over the age of 20, Wood received adult entry, meaning she didn’t require the usual prereq’s to be accepted.

As semester one began, the student soon realised that the classes she was taking, Chemistry and Biology, were out of her league.

Falling behind within the first week, Sryne was unable to understand lecture material.
Coming from being a straight-A student in 2016, studying her first year of a Bachelor of Exercise Science at AUT, the student thought that if she studied harder, she would undoubtedly catch up to the rest of her peers.

On asking for help from her teachers, “They kind of just said that they couldn’t tell me what to do, but they do recommend that I had already had previous knowledge of science and things… It’s a bit annoying that they accepted me, knowing that now”.

Further enquiring about bridging courses and tutoring to help her get back on track, Wood was told they weren’t available and they “pretty much laughed in my face”.

Struggling to survive with the few living costs provided by StudyLink, ($176.86 per week) and her part-time job only consisting of one day a week because of study commitments, the only options were to stick it out, find tutoring or drop out.

Reluctantly, Wood resigned as she couldn’t afford to pay for tutoring and going to class just to fail seemed pointless.

According to the Tertiary Education Commission (2013), 1 in 5 students drop out of university in their first year.

 

Graph: Mava Moayyed

With rent prices in Auckland going up 25% for the last five years, it seems Wood was essentially set up for failure.

In investigating StudyLink, I was refused to be talked to. Wanting their personal thoughts on the subject, no comments were made.

How many other students will this happen to before StudyLink realises the fact that students are struggling at the expense of their education?

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Sources:

Sryne Wood (0272024933)

http://thewireless.co.nz/articles/getting-by-on-a-student-budget

 

 

Close-knit family donates 300 collectables to charity, social media plays a large role.

Close-knit family donates 300 collectables to charity, social media plays a large role.

BY GRACE ELLIS 

“The force is strong with this one” family when it came to the collecting of a whopping 9000 Countdown Star Wars character tokens and Disney Movie Star cards, which the Stowell’s donated to Ronald McDonald House and Starship on Friday 14th.

Moving to New Zealand around 3 and a half years ago from South Africa, Greg and Charmayne wanted to create a better life for their now 10-year-old son, Tristan, who they described as always being extremely friendly and kind-hearted.

Originally collecting tokens for himself, Star Wars fanatic Tristan, found his last character card, Rei, about a month ago. Having piles of leftover cards, he came up with the idea to donate the rest to children who couldn’t collect them themselves.

“Their parents won’t bother worrying about collecting the cards because they’re too busy worrying about their child’s health”, Tristan said.

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Notes received from the community. Photo: Grace Ellis.

The family created a swap stand outside of Sunnynook Countdown, but it was on social media that people began to recognise the work that Tristan was doing. One lady bought a “hefty amount of cookies”, of which landed her a whole box of Star Wars collectables, approximately 500 tokens, which she donated to the cause. From there, the collecting really kicked off.

After posting on Neighbourly, the Sunnynook residents received an enormous amount of replies from the community wanting to donate their spare tokens and express their gratitude through notes and home visits.

Neighbourly, founded by Casey Eden and Shane Bradley and co-owned by Fairfax Media, started back in 2014 and has approximately 200,000 members nationwide as of September 2015. It acts as a way of connecting with your neighbours within the community in a secure environment.

A recent study by Mashable showed that of the 1,053 people analysed, 51% typically heard of initiatives to give back through social media sites. Charmayne noted that it wasn’t until they posted on Neighbourly that people really began to recognise them and the project. With word of mouth following at 12%, Neighbourly acted as the starting point of community talk, further spreading the word and donations.

mashable-charity-social-media-1Just 30 hours before the delivery deadline, the Stowell’s received stacks of boxes from past promotional Disney Movie Star albums. Through the utilisation of social media, people of the community helped complete a further 100 albums to donate. Charmayne said the project has been an eye-opener. The community coming together to help is something that she rarely saw back in their hometown of Pretoria.

The study also showed that in order for people to actually donate, they have to believe in the cause itself.

Greg stated that what made people happy to donate their cards was the fact that not everyone has the ability to think up doing something so benevolent, nor do they have the drive to actually sit down and tackle the task. The fact that Tristan was able to at such a young age is astounding.screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-10-34-36-pm

Social media poll results show a clear agreement with the above statement. With 36 responses, 23 said that they believe people contribute to social good efforts because they believe in the cause.

After a month and a half of opening, sorting and assembling, the family went to Ronald McDonald house to hand over a total of 200 Star Wars albums and 106 Disney Movie Stars albums also.Taylor Foster (13), on her second temporary stay of the year at Ronald McDonald House, received a two Movie Star Albums and a Star Wars Album, of which she is passing onto her sister.

Tristan resembles his favourite Star Wars character, Yoda, in the way that he uses his powers for good. As Yoda says Episode II: “Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is”. Tristan Stowell is no exception.

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Tristan (left) and Taylor (right) stand with donated albums. Photo: Grace Ellis

 

Word Count: 628

REFERENCES:

How Social Media Has Changed Charities Forever

http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/74579433/neighbourly-website-hits-200000-users

 

Getting to know the Stowell’s

Getting to know the Stowell’s

This week involved finally meeting the Stowell’s for a pre-delivery interview, turned 4 hour conversation and unwrapping of collectable cards.

Not knowing what to expect before walking into their house on Knightsbridge Drive, the family welcomed me with open arms. I explained that I wanted to look at their family working together in this project as one rather than just Tristan himself. Because his parent’s happily took on the work load but the idea sprung from Tristan’s mind, I decided my angle would be on how his upbringing might have affected his coming of idea’s to give back to the less fortunate.

Asking Tristan all of the question’s I had prepared, the conversation went off on a tangent. Amazed at just how bright and kind-hearted he was for someone so young, the answer I recieved once revealing my angle stunned me a little. Tristan’s parents, Greg and Charmayne explained “You were mentioning earlier that you wanted to do it on his upbringing, but he has always been like this”.

This interviewing process forced me to rethink my angle as I realised that you really won’t know how the concept of the story will work out until you speak with the subject. Because I didn’t know Tristan whilst trying to think up angles, I had absolutely no idea that his character would be so genuine and benefacting. I assumed that it must have been their parenting that made him the way he is. So… Completely striking out my main angle idea, I have decided that I will look into how social media has affected the immensity of Tristan’s project.

Mentioning how much feedback and help the family has recieved from the community because of social media, I plan on looking further into this for my final story. Next, I need to look into some research of charities and social media content.

(a)Cute Angle

(a)Cute Angle

Coming up with an angle for my final story is proving to be harder than expected. The story of Tristan is quite heart-warming, but I do not want to completely focus on the physical contribution he is making, but rather look further into why and how he is completing the task. With few days to go before I head to the Stowell residence, my brainstorm of ideas goes as follows:

  • Looking into Tristan’s family and his upbringing to see how this might have influenced his idea in deciding to donate to charity.
  • Looking into how the advancement of technology and social media have had an impact on the capacity of donations and help.
  • Looking at the coming together of the community for a good cause.

With technology being the focus of last week’s lecture (week 8), I realized that something I haven’t yet encountered is preparing questions for a child. If I’m wanting to do a detailed analysis of say, how social media has affected the enormity of donations and help, how do I simplify my questions to what a 10-year-old might be able to answer? Or is technology in younger generations so much more commonly used and understood that he’ll be able to answer this with ease?

I will probably touch on each of the above concepts but choosing which of these to use as the main focus is something that I might just leave up to the time of the interview to see what direction the conversation with the Stowell’s leads me.

Photograph sourced from CHRIS MCKEEN / FAIRFAX NZ

BREAKING: GRACE OFFICIALLY HAS A STORY

BREAKING: GRACE OFFICIALLY HAS A STORY

After having a reply from a possible story source, my final story topic has officially been set in stone.

I spoke to Greg Stowell today over the phone. As Tristan’s father, he is my main point of contact before the interviewing process, as Tristan, the main subject of my story is only 10-years-old.

Tristan has been collecting Star Wars Cosmic Shells from Countdown for over a month and is building up his collection of sets to then donate to children at Ronald McDonald House and Starship.

Now, I have recently discovered that Stuff.co.nz has actually already beaten me to the chase and posted a story on their website about Tristan’s endeavor. Thinking this might completely kill my chances of utilizing this touching story, my tutor informed me that I just need to consider a different angle when writing about the subject.

After all, I have come to learn in tutorial’s that news outlets occasionally source their information from other outlets, but it is the angle of which the publication takes that gives the story life. Stuff.co.nz has written from face-value. They simply tell the story of what Tristan and his family are doing but don’t look into it any further than that. This leaves me with a lot of leg room of what way my story might lean.

I am meeting up with Tristan and his parents next week for an interview before going along to Ronald McDonald House with them on Friday 14th. Time to prepare my questions and think of possible angles that might give Stuff a run for their money.

Interview exercise (classwork)

Interview exercise (classwork)

18-year-old high school drop out, Olivia, left to pursue her dream of Culinary Arts at AUT only to be declined for the degree, not having any University Entrance on her records.

After a disappointing start, Olivia decided to do a Practical Certificate in Patisserie to make up for the loss of year 13 requirements, where she soon fell in love with the course.

7am starts is what she and her fellow students now encounter in pursuit of their dreams.  The recently opened Piko2Go store on AUT city campus is open for only one month of the year in order for patisserie students to deal with real life situations like they will face once finishing their studies.

Olivia is wanting to extend her certificate to two years in hopes that it will allow her to one day open up her own cafe. Originally only wanting culinary food in this, the course has unearthed her passion of patisserie.