Six inspirations from the Bay

By Import from old site

If you missed ‘Inspiring Sustainability in the Bay’, at Tūhoe’s stunning living building in Taneatua, Bay of Plenty on 30 March, read on for our top takeaway learnings.

What a privilege to be hosted by Ngāi Tūhoe for our annual Bay of Plenty celebration of sustainability! The themes for the day were climate change and community, with a practical workshop where attendees could apply learnings to their own organisations. Thank you to all the speakers for their expert insights – Tūhoe’s CEO Kirsti Luke, Massey University’s Professor Ralph Sims, Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Chairman Doug Leeder and Whakatane Mayor Tony Bonne. In addition, Kerry Gosling and Stephanie MacDonald from the Regional Council led the workshop component.

Here are our top inspirations:

  1. Rethink investment

Investment decisions should focus on enhancing the value of your organisation, rather than simply on financial return.  Tūhoe put sustainability and culture at the heart of all their business decisions. They design and build institutions – such as their living building headquarters – to reinforce this.

  1. Be optimistic

Inspiration and hope are very important for a community. According to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “The essence of optimism is that it is a source of inspiration, of vitality and hope where others have resigned”.

  1. Focus on lifestyles for community wellbeing

Work is critical for people to flourish, though it may not be employment as we currently understand it, but rather the contribution people are making to their community that’s important. Part-time work or voluntary contributions may be as rewarding as full-time paid employment.

  1. Do your fair share to reduce New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions

If we don’t act now, it will cost more to reduce our emissions. Businesses need to start as early as possible to minimise emissions, rather than waiting for others.

  1. Encourage your council to tackle climate change

Local government has the power to create change, since it owns the infrastructure needed to adapt to climate change (for example, public transport and water supply).  Businesses, in turn, are in a strong position to leverage council action and work with them to create long term plans to tackle climate change.

  1. Transport yourself

Addressing transport is critical for climate change and businesses can integrate new technologies to reduce our fossil fuel exposure. These include integrating electric vehicles, scooters or bikes, using car share schemes or carpooling. 


Inspiring Sustainability in the Bay was held at Tūhoe’s living building, the first in New Zealand, in Taneatua. A living building is designed to have a net positive impact in everything it does. This includes its construction, to the materials used, the community it’s based in and its usage.  

Check out the building in this trailer for Ever the Land, an observational documentary exploring the bond between Ngāi Tūhoe and their land. The movie will be screened at a special fundraiser in Auckland on 21 April.

View the Inspiring Sustainability in the Bay Presentations 2016