Pestival comes to SMC

Secondary school students, parents, teachers and inspiring individuals from all over Auckland, gathered right here, in the Sancta Maria College Auditorium, for East Auckland Pestival 2018. This half-day conference was attended by over 60 people and set the stage for a fruitful year ahead.

The conference was jam-packed with everything a green bean would need to kick-start another season of incredible environmental actions. We had an extensive lineup of speakers and representatives from UN Youth New Zealand, Sustainable Coastlines, Auckland Council, Plastic Diet, Auckland Council Biosecurity Team, Gecko NZ Trust, CatchIT, Auckland Botanical Gardens and Howick Local board. All of whom came prepared with beautiful, colourful, cream of the crop presentations.

The auditorium set-up was as never before seen; natives trees were brimming over the tables ready to be gifted; numerous rat traps were stationed across the space; the goodie bag depot allowed attendees to fill their brand-new Auckland Council calico bags with state-of-the-art rat traps, pamphlets, how-to’s, gardening calendars, upcoming events, opportunities, contacts and so much more. Of course, an event isn’t an event without food and, luckily for us, Auckland Council sponsored this event with $100 worth of dips, cheese, crackers, veges and watermelon.

Just behind the stage stood a lengthy sheet of attendees’ pledges which they’ll take back into their own communities. Every one of the speakers was hand-picked and chock-full of knowledge, enabling attendees to add to the pledge panel.

“I must compliment the student organisers, it was a very valuable opportunity for everybody, students, staff and parents, to unite with the Council in taking on the eradication of these pests. It is only then, the environment can blossom,” reflected Mrs. Debbie McCreath.

Izzie Merrie (Organiser of East Auckland Pestival) added enthusiastically, “Nothing can beat the vibe that successful environmental events have. You believe, even if it’s just for a moment, that absolutely anything is possible. I really enjoyed not only meeting new people but having the opportunity to provide them with the tools to take pest free action. Fingers crossed they learned as much as I did.”

"There's something really special about attending youth activism events like the recent Pestival and Green Jam. It's so great to see young people taking initiative for local environmental issues and encouraging an engagement between the public and the Auckland Council. I enjoyed being informed of the practical aspects of reducing plant pest invasion and learning about the simplicity of cutting out waste products in our lives,” added Kenya Ashcroft, a loyal supporter and the photographer for the night.

After mulling over the occasion, Emily Lloyd (Organiser of East Auckland Pestival) appreciates that, “Events like this show that even when the problems are massive and international, and things feel overwhelming, it's the little actions taken regularly by regular people that build up and make a difference. We're all in this fight together. Only when we come together to teach and inspire each other will we see change.”

Thanks to our sponsors at Ecostore and Auckland Council we were able to gift our ever-so-deserving speakers Ecostore soaps, Whitakkers Chocolate, and cards. Attendees also left with an Ecostore soap as well as a free rat trap from Auckland Council.

Shoutout to Felix, Lorenzo and Nathan from the SMC Tech Team who diligently flicked through the presentations for the speakers.

Thank you to Gemma, Mikayla, Niamh, Thomas and Mrs. McCreath from the Enviro Team for all their help and support throughout the process.

Katrina Chan