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Westie weavers leading the way in UN campaign

Westie weavers leading the way in United Nations Sustainability Campaign

The symbol for sustainability in New Zealand won’t be yet another plastic wrist band – not if some ingenious flax weavers and Westies have anything to say about it.

Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey, the Mamas (a group of traditional Pacific weavers) and some children from the Glen Eden holiday programme are about to launch “Band of Hope”: wrist bands woven from flax that aim to draw attention to the importance of sustainable development.

“Having sustainable symbols that are actually sustainable and not made out of plastic makes sense: even our youngsters agreed that having plastic bands was a no no,” says acting UNESCO New Zealand secretary general, Hayden Montgomerie.

This Thursday some West Auckland children will gather at the Glen Eden Community House to weave the flax bands with the Mamas. The next day they will accompany Mayor Harvey to the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development stakeholder’s forum at AUT Penrose where the bands will be launched as New Zealand’s official decade symbol.

“These bands of hope will be the decade’s official symbol in New Zealand and we will be promoting them as a sustainability symbol throughout the United Nations organisation,” says Mr Montgomerie.

Band of Hope involves youngsters weaving and wearing wrist bands to raise awareness of the importance of not just thinking in a sustainable way but acting in one every day.

Education for sustainability is a broad concept that involves educating people and giving them the tools to use and protect the things they value the most.

“The decade is about those things we treasure that we are willing to fight for to make sure they are there for future generations”

“Land, sea and sky . . .the things that we as Kiwis see as culturally, spiritually, economically and politically important – our taonga as a nation”


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