A repurposed Whangārei District Council building is now a hub for community groups to collaborate and educate the public.
The space has been in the pipeline for about 18 months and will provide a “one-stop shop” for information about the environment and how to get involved in local environment organisations.
The aim is to protect and nurture the urban environment, help change behaviours of those in their homes, businesses, schools and the local community, and support waste minimisation projects.
He Awhi Rito Envirohub in central Whangārei is named after a Maōri proverb about the harekeke (flax) plant supporting the inner shoots.
It is a metaphor to show the support that is offered to both the community and local organisations.
Located at 8 First Ave, it has been leased to the local charity For Our Real Clean Environment (Force), which runs Love Whangārei Monthly Cleanup and the Whangārei Repair Cafe.
Other tenant organisations include Tai Tokerau Timebank , EcoSolutions; a CBEC enterprise and Whitebait Connection-Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust.
It is an exciting moment for EcoSolutions worker and Force board member Cezanne Hamilton, who said it’s been a “dream” for “so long”.
“I guess with our work in the community we’ve seen the need for a long time for the people of Whangārei. They want somewhere to go to ask different questions around waste and organisations.”
The smaller environmental organisations don’t have offices, she said, so the new hub gives them a space for meetings and events.
Already there are more organisations lined up to join and a multitude of events planned.
The aim is to create a “public-facing” service where people can walk in.
Hamilton said they’re hoping to get funding for a manager so there will always be someone on site during the day.
As a waste educator in schools, she is hoping soon they will come directly to the hub for trips.
Envirohub is already the space for a community compost facility that recently had compost from the A&P show that will eventually be processed in local gardens.
There’s also a native plant nursery on site by tenant organisation Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust.
Hamilton encourages people to drop in and see the space. There’s a bulletin board on the window, and a Facebook page will also offer regular updates.
Brodie Stone is the education and general news reporter at the Advocate. Brodie has spent most of her life in Whangārei and is passionate about delving into issues that matter to Northlanders and beyond.