North Harbour Hockey Association (NHHA) delivers hockey services to 4,500 hockey players and 7,000 whānau in the North Harbour region of Auckland.
In addition to its primary function of managing sporting activities, the association has set big goals around social, financial and environmental sustainability to improve its resilience, says the association’s CEO Michelle Bentham.
“We believe we have a long-term responsibility to deliver sustainable, regenerative, and impactful services to benefit our players, our local and national community, as well as the local and global natural environment for present and future generations.”
New venue, new focus
In 2019, NHHA moved into the National Hockey Centre at Rosedale Park near Albany. The centre is the home of the Black Sticks and the national facility for international hockey events.
The association is working closely with mana whenua to care for the surrounding land and its people.
“We recognise that increasing environmental wellbeing and social justice will help us decarbonise and offer a better service for future generations of people that might use the facilities.”
However, knowing what to do and where to start were massive challenges, says Michelle.
“We were building the plane as we were flying it. We only had $500 and a rudimentary knowledge of sustainability to start our journey.”
“SBN’s free online tools and resources, like the Climate Action Toolbox, helped us get things off the ground and create a seven-year sustainability plan. It was a trusted source of information and saved us time and money.
“Our main aims are to be waste zero by 2027 and decarbonised by 2030. We’ve also got a major project to restore Rosedale Park with the aim to become Aotearoa’s first climate positive regenerative urban restoration.”
The Toolbox identified key areas for decarbonising and reducing waste, electricity and water. It then provided guidelines on what actions to take.
“Reducing our electricity use was difficult. We were using a lot for lighting our turfs. We’ve now found ways to reduce our power use which are saving us over $6000 per year.”
To cut down on waste, NHHA is changing its procurement policy to encourage suppliers to reduce waste from their products and services. Another priority is to change people’s behaviour around sorting waste and recycling.
The biggest goal is to restore 10,000 square metres within Rosedale Park. Te Hōnonga a Iwi involves regenerative agricultural methods like planting cover crops and native trees, using chickens and bees and making bio-organic compost from waste biomass.
Led by NHHA, the project is an inspiring example of community action involving more than 40 local organisations from the public, private, education, sports, and arts sectors.*
“We’re making the park a place where biodiversity can increase and local people can go to connect with nature.”
The project has won six awards for community and environmental action in the past two years.
More free help
SBN’s free tools and resources once again helped set the direction and confirm planning and progress were on track, says Michelle.
“We’ve found SBN’s case studies very helpful. Learning from industry experts has been liberating for us.
“In addition to the online resources, our sustainability committee members have attended a number of SBN webinars. We’ve found them very useful. Plus, we’ve had lots of support. We’ve been able to approach SBN’s experts and always had an immediate response. That’s been absolutely incredible from SBN.”
NHHA believes that SMEs and the sports sector have strong roles to play in mitigating climate change. It is looking to partner with a like-minded corporation to enable investment in growth in its socio-environmental impact regionally, nationally and globally.
“With support from frameworks that SBN offers, we know we can continue to develop innovative ways to become climate positive, increase local business resilience, community cohesion, social equity and demonstrate that SMEs and the sports sector can offer leadership and solutions that are novel at a global level, to positively contribute towards mitigating climate change.”
*NHHA is working in partnership with Ngāti Whātua O Kaipara, Auckland Council, Upper Harbour Local Board, Massey University, seven local schools, Metlifecare and Settlers retirement villages, early childhood centres, UWEN, Mountains to Sea, The Dingle Foundation, Rotary Albany, Business North Harbour, and SMEs Untangled Landscapes, BeMedia, Brightstar, Albany Veterinary Hospital, Davenports Law, Stormwater 360, Command IT, ICB, Hilton Brown Swimming, Ventia, Pioneer Pies, NZ Machine Hire, and Gurit.