Students’ mission against fast-fashion


ƹϵεapp is extremely lucky to have Astrid and Maisie, two well-known Year 13’s, on the Kaitiakitanga committee and leaders of Tautīnei. Together, with other members of these two groups, they have run two op-shops in the past two years. Just in case Astrid and Masie are not familiar names, they have kindly introduced themselves.

Maisie – “Kia ora! I am a Year 13 member of the Kaitiaki leaders of Tautīnei at Nayland. I care deeply about making the world a better place, so I feel extremely privileged to be able to make a small difference at this school. I love the outdoors and have a great appreciation for nature and all things living. Other interests of mine include music; I am a drummer in a band called Parallel Park. I also play volleyball and love staying active at the gym. My goals for the future are to continue to study Spanish, and next year I plan to take a gap year to travel the world where I can put this knowledge to good use.”

Astrid – “Kia ora! Ko Astrid Banke Sayer tōku ingoa. I am Year 13, and the student leader for Waiora and the Kaitiakitanga committee. I am passionate about sustainability and social justice, and I enjoy kapa haka, biking and swimming. My future goals are to continue to study Te Reo Māori until I am fluent, to work to support climate change action and to study medicine in some way or form. My more short-term goal is to narrow this to what I should study next year!”

Both girls are leaders of Tautīnei. In 2019, the group was known as N.E.S.T. (Nayland Environmental Sustainability Team) and was formed allow students who want to make a positive difference in the world to have a place to meet, discuss ideas and plan and carry out events. Really, the only thing that has changed is the fresh name, Tautīnei, which means to support, provide and sustain.

Through the support of these groups Neirana’s first op-shop ran last year and aims to be an annual event. Maisie and Astrid were inspired by the huge uptake of op-shopping among youth and the potential reduction of fast-fashion among Nayland students.

All items were sold for 50 cents and anybody who donated clothes could take away the same amount for free. Both girls hope that it reminded people how much clothing they own and prompt them to pass it along.

This year’s op-shop had a “massive turnout and awesome vibe and was extremely rewarding” according to Maisie.

So, how did they get into all of this stuff?

Astrid – “Since Year 9, I have been a member of Pūaha Te Tai (and the kapa haka group), a Waka Captain and a member of Tautīnei (our Kaitiakitanga group). Over the past two years, I have been the student representative on the school Board of Trustees and a Nelson Youth Councilor. Currently, I am also on the Nelson Tasman Climate Forum Leadership Group, the Nelson Women’s Centre Board and I am the Co-Chair of a Youth Advisory Group to the Ministry of Health. I hope that this experience will help me in the future to become an empathetic, confident and productive leader in my future mahi.”

Maisie – “I have found that being Year 13, leadership opportunities arise more frequently as more is expected of us. So, when I began coming to Tautīnei meetings, [Mr Robinson] approached me asking if I was keen to be a part of the Kaitiakitanga committee. I am very grateful to have had this opportunity because already it has made me a more confident leader as I feel I have achieved lots of goals. I joined Tautīnei because I wanted to get together with a community of like-minded people to actively make a difference, and it has been so fun.”

If making a positive difference in and outside of Neirana interests you, then you should ensure you bring yourself, some friends and your ideas to Lab 4C on a Wednesday lunchtime, where Tautīnei meets weekly. If you are in Years 9-12, you could also consider becoming a Waka Captain next year and selecting Kaitiakitanga as your committee, giving you the opportunity to lead and encourage sustainability in your waka. Doing any of these things will also allow you to be involved in next year’s op-shop, water testing, composting, helping at the morning tea club or another project that interests you.

If this all seems like a bit much, and you would like to help but are not quite sure where to start, Astrid and Maisie would recommend to “start with something small like turning up to one meeting or talking to one person about their project”. Opportunities will inadvertently present themselves and activists are always looking for more people-power. Time is the biggest gift you can give, as long as you are realistic about how much time you have to give. Getting together with like-minded people, such as joining the school environmental committee, is so effective to create goals and make positive changes. By being a part of something wonderful such as this, you’re also encouraging others to get involved for a sustainable future! 

By Millie MacBrayne