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January 2023 newsletter from Flourish

Wednesday, January 18, 2023   Posted in: Newsletters By: Administrator With tags: newsletter, Community Groups

Last year we achieved (us with you) a lot!

Building on a strong foundation of setting up a flourishing organisation we really dived into big and small projects in 2022. Have a look below, find out what Flourish Kia Puāwai is all about and get excited about what we have achieved together!

Read about the team: Michelle Whitaker, Mark Gibson, Sharon Torstonson, Ian Burn, Mel Banfield and our advisors.

Our Papatūānuku: Mother Earth

Launched on Mother's Day 2022, this inaugural and meaningful competition was inspired by the UK Our Other Mother campaign by Parent Climate Groups and professional artists. Here in Aotearoa, we wanted to hear from our kiwi kids, both their love and their concerns for Our Papatūānuku, Mother Earth.

Although unfunded for this first year (fingers crossed for this year), Michelle's passion meant she volunteered and obtained ten amazing judges who care about our young people and the environment. We had entries from North of Auckland to Stewart Island, from Homeschoolers, Teen Parent, Primary, Intermediate and High schools. The organisers and judges were impressed by the wealth of knowledge and talent, but also feel the fear expressed by this generation in light of pollution and climate change.

The art and literature have been made into a beautiful book for the winning students and schools. Also available to order!

Check out all the amazing art and writing!

Rubbish Talk

You’d think that we would be getting better at recycling and using our Yellow, Red and Green Bins by now. Unfortunately, we aren’t and according to Christchurch City Council waste data, the last two years we’ve got worse.

Over 45 percent of rubbish getting buried in our landfill could have gone elsewhere to be reused, recycled or composted.

Michelle leads our new Rubbish Talk project where we were finding out what we are doing wrong and easy ways to make it right in Christchurch, Waimakariri and Selwyn.

Michelle and Mark also found great community-based recycling hubs too. There is actually a lot of items that can be recycled (that can't go in the yellow bins) and many people doing good.

We have made some videos of schools and small enterprises who are turning plastic waste into amazing art and products. We hope to gain some CCC funding this year to support and collaborate with these amazing people and groups to reduce even more waste!

Regenerative Communities

We won an Award! Our Mark leads the project and our first year won a Placemaking Aotearoa Kumara Award!

​We were honoured with the Award:Tiakina te whenua, ka manaakitia te tangata. Caring For the Land, Caring For the People.

We're absolutely chuffed!

The Regenerative Communities initiative includes a two year Action Research pilot based at a Tiny Forest in King George V Reserve, on the banks of the Ōpāwaho Heathcote River.

A core of the first year was engaging St Martin School Students and Scouts with a programme of workshops based at the Reserve. Workshops involved learning about how a healthy forest functions; the interrelationships in a “community of life” (including humans), the importance of biodiversity on land and the river.

This year we are supporting the Tiny Forest's volunteer group in their own learning and becoming kaitiaki. Thanks to our collaborators: Maui Stuart, Te Hapu o Ngati Wheke, Dr Colin Meurk - Flourish Science Advisor, CCC Urban Park Rangers, St Martin's Primary School and St Martins Scouts.

Find out more about Regenerative Communities initiative.

Follow Regenerative Communities on Facebook.

Other initatives

Waikuku Repair Fair

Waimakariri had their first Repair Fair (that we're aware of). Led by our Sharon in collaboration with the community, Waimakariri District Council and supported by Repair Café Aotearoa.

Sprouted from the Waikuku Community Exchange which Sharon supports as a volunteer, the Repair Café was about celebrating the skills that exist in the community, free trade/exchange and reducing waste.

Bush to Bush

Led by Mark as an avid cyclist and fitting with our aim to reduce climate change, this pilot was part of the Biketober Festival. It involved biking between two of Christchurch's urban tiny forests with a talk at each end.

Call Nature

This idea came from not being able to run River of Flowers due to the pandemic - led by Michelle and made by Mel.

The river phone installations were about working through tough feelings by connecting with nature and our rivers. Being in and connecting with Nature is now well known to improve our wellbeing and mental health. Twelve phones were placed at our River of Flowers sites, eleven alongside the Avon-Ōtākaro, Heathcote-Ōpāwaho or the Estuary- Ihutai waterways.

Collaborate or get involved with us. We love working with people, organisations and communities!

Contact connect[at]