Plastic-free bag sewers make a whole night of it

SEWING TO SAVE THE PLANET: Katy Wallace, Tuta Ngarimu and Nicky Solomon show some of the bespoke bags made during the 24-hour bag-a-thon by willing participants like Janet Foon and Mate Wanoa (see the following picture in this gallery). Pictures by Paul Rickard
Janet Foon and Mate Wanoa at the 24-hour bag-a-thon.

Kaiti Mall was abuzz with the whir of sewing machines and scissors over Friday and Saturday as the Plastic Bag-Free Tairawhiti bag-a-thon motored through the night.

Hosted by Ka Pai Kaiti, the event was planned with a goal of producing free reusable shopping bags for people to use instead of single-use plastic bags.

Up to 150 people participated in the event, measuring, cutting and sewing for 24 hours straight.

Last year participants at the event produced 250 reusable bags but this year had a goal to go further and managed a total of more than 340 hand-sewn bags.

Getting under way at 3pm on Friday afternoon, by 10.30pm 80 bags had been sewn from fabric offcuts.

Working through the night, the team had a tally of 170 bespoke bags by 7am the following day.

Ka Pai Kaiti manager Tuta Ngarimu said it was awesome to see positive behaviour being normalised.

“What an amazing 24 hours.

“There was support from all corners of the community.

“This is about caring for the whenua, the moana, the ngahere and seeing so many people coming together on one kaupapa does not often happen.

“It has been awesome.”

Contributions from businesses kept the team fuelled with coffee and food and there was a constant stream of entertainment on offer.

“Whanau who were at the mall for different reasons saw something going on and came in to get involved.

“One guy was doing his laundry, found out what was happening and went home to get his keyboard to play music.

“Before long we had a full band pumping out some tunes for us,” said Mr Ngarimu.

Ka Pai Kaiti became involved in last years bag-a-thon and had since decided to make it a permanent event.

“I was in the Pacific Islands recently and was fortunate enough to go for a dive.

“The water was pristine, but I was amazed to see all the plastic bottles on the bottom.

“We can’t just do nothing when we see these things.

“I think for most people the image of a whale found with more than eight kilograms of plastic in its stomach is a pretty hard reality to ignore.”

The bespoke bags will be available to shoppers at various points around the city.

Kaiti Mall was abuzz with the whir of sewing machines and scissors over Friday and Saturday as the Plastic Bag-Free Tairawhiti bag-a-thon motored through the night.

Hosted by Ka Pai Kaiti, the event was planned with a goal of producing free reusable shopping bags for people to use instead of single-use plastic bags.

Up to 150 people participated in the event, measuring, cutting and sewing for 24 hours straight.

Last year participants at the event produced 250 reusable bags but this year had a goal to go further and managed a total of more than 340 hand-sewn bags.

Getting under way at 3pm on Friday afternoon, by 10.30pm 80 bags had been sewn from fabric offcuts.

Working through the night, the team had a tally of 170 bespoke bags by 7am the following day.

Ka Pai Kaiti manager Tuta Ngarimu said it was awesome to see positive behaviour being normalised.

“What an amazing 24 hours.

“There was support from all corners of the community.

“This is about caring for the whenua, the moana, the ngahere and seeing so many people coming together on one kaupapa does not often happen.

“It has been awesome.”

Contributions from businesses kept the team fuelled with coffee and food and there was a constant stream of entertainment on offer.

“Whanau who were at the mall for different reasons saw something going on and came in to get involved.

“One guy was doing his laundry, found out what was happening and went home to get his keyboard to play music.

“Before long we had a full band pumping out some tunes for us,” said Mr Ngarimu.

Ka Pai Kaiti became involved in last years bag-a-thon and had since decided to make it a permanent event.

“I was in the Pacific Islands recently and was fortunate enough to go for a dive.

“The water was pristine, but I was amazed to see all the plastic bottles on the bottom.

“We can’t just do nothing when we see these things.

“I think for most people the image of a whale found with more than eight kilograms of plastic in its stomach is a pretty hard reality to ignore.”

The bespoke bags will be available to shoppers at various points around the city.

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