Auckland Environmental Protection Association Incorporated has an important message to share. The not-for-profit organisation was established in 2010 to promote environmental protection.
According to Susan Diao, the association was started by a group of dedicated Chinese migrants who wanted to do their bit. ‘They loved living in New Zealand and contributed to the community by picking up litter they came across in their neighbourhoods,’ she says.
The association still has strong links to the Chinese community. However, its remit has grown to include anyone interested in protecting the environment. And while the group operates throughout Auckland, most of its members are based in The West around Henderson.
Susan says that the association organises various events and projects to raise awareness of environmental issues and build a sense of community among members. And they have just completed an exciting 12-week programme of environmental promotion workshops.
According to Susan, the programme aimed to educate people, especially new migrants, on recycling and reusing kitchen waste. The sessions explained how to dispose of household waste responsibly. They also included tips on composting and planting a veggie or flower garden.
The workshops have been an enormous success. Around 20-30 participants attended each session, including members and non-members. Some completed all the workshops, while others dipped in depending on the topic.
Funding of $9,999 from the Your West Support Fund was instrumental in getting the programme off the ground. ‘Many participants are older, so we hired a minibus to take people to and from the workshops,’ says Susan. The sessions were free to participants, and costs were kept as low as possible, with one member even offering their own garden for others to practice their newfound skills.
Each session finished with a catch-up over a coffee, and many new friendships have been made. Susan says that participants have started an informal group meeting regularly at Waitakere Central Library. ‘It’s great to see the group continue after the end of the programme. They share tips and ideas, and it’s had a big impact on older migrants who are often isolated,’ says Susan.
The essential message of the programme has continued with demonstration videos that have been shared far and wide. Regardless of your garden size, the association has lots of practical advice on using kitchen waste to grow vegetables and flowers.
‘The workshops have improved participants’ physical and mental wellbeing,’ declares Susan. And they’ve also helped to spread the critical reduce, reuse and recycle message out to the community.
You can contact Susan directly on 021 974 288 to learn more about the fantastic work of Auckland Environmental Protection Association Incorporated.