Community Resources Whakatāne, better known as CReW, was established in late 2011 by a group of passionate local individuals led by Marcus Baker and was initially governed by Energy Options, a non-profit community organisation.
The establishment costs of CReW were originally funded through a grant from the Ministry for the Environment’s contestable funds to research and write a comprehensive Establishment Guide for Community Reuse Centres throughout New Zealand and CReW was set using these principles.
Contributions were also made for the establishment of CReW by Te Runanga o Ngati Awa (TRONA), the Whakatāne District Council and with kind support from Pou Whakaaro.
CReW opened its doors as a Reuse Centre in 40 Te Tahi Street Whakatāne in March 2012, leasing the site from Pou Whakaaro and Caroline Campbell, seconded from the Whakatāne District Council, initially managed CReW during this time.
In 2013, Energy Options was sold by the Eastern Bay Energy Trust and for a short time CReW was governed at a distance by the Community Business and Environment Centre (CBEC) Northland.
By November 2013, CReW formally became part of Pou Whakaaro and both CReW and Pou Whakaaaro report to and are governed by the EBAT Charitable Trust Board of Trustees through the General Manager, Claire Pye.
“Being involved with the development of CReW from the beginning has been a privilege, and I love the fact that CReW was set up as a values based organisation to make a holistic contribution for the people of our community.
The name Community Resources Whakatāne - CReW was a way of representing two objectives for CReW as an organisation.
First being the diversion of resources from landfill and secondly it was about the people who CReW wanted to create sustainable employment for, those people with barriers to employment. The acronym CReW acknowledged that people are in fact the greatest resource of our community.
When I am in CReW I know we are achieving these objectives.”
The Bay of Plenty Regional Council contributed funds during this time to purchase a trailer, racking systems for the salvage yard and a horse float for picking up reusable resources donated from the local community.
Some of the CReW team in 2017 holding certificates for a triple success in the local annual Whakatane Garden Competition. Former CReW Team Leader between 2015-17, Robyn Wilson, is on the far left.
Due to both an increase in operations and a desire for CReW to expand and grow, in March 2018 the CReW Team Leader’s position was divided into two lead roles.
David derives great satisfaction from working in a non-profit organisation that aligns with his environmental and social values and allows him to contribute in meaningful way to the community. “It is a very special thing to be able to help people in our local area, getting to know them and make connections through the process. I am very happy and proud to be part of CReW as it is uniquely positioned to increase community well being and energy all while reducing environmental impacts on the whenua.”
Bridget was contracted to CReW at this time and subsequently a range of marketing platforms have been initiated and a Community Waste Minimisation Programme was developed with grants from both the Whakatāne District Council and BayTrust.
“My past roles as recycling co-ordinator for the Rotorua District Council and Arts Festival co-ordinator, combined with tertiary tutoring gave me the opportunity to help CReW develop a set of Waste Minimisation Educational Projects and to work alongside a dedicated and diverse range of people within Pou Whakaaro/CReW. The experience has been very rewarding.”
Operations have continued to expand since CReW opened its doors in 2012 and consequently more full and part-time opportunities have been created, on both a paid and voluntary level. This is in keeping with one of CReW’s core values centering on sustainable employment.
Past and present team members have brought a huge range of talents and skills, helping to make CReW the one and only best practice Reuse Centre operating in the Eastern Bay to date.
CReW would not be the success story that it is today without the support from the local community who donate their reusable resources helping to divert them away from the landfill. Since opening it’s doors in 2012, CReW has become a firmly established part of the Whakatāne community, and continues to identify opportunities to meet its objectives in new and evolving ways.