Youth Team
Innnovative Waste Kaikoura Trust

The Youth Team with supervisor Rob Roche

Innovative Waste are a Limited Liability Trust Company with charitable status. They manage Kaikoura’s Landfill and Resource Recovery Centre and have a track record of creating employment for long-term unemployed people through recycling.

Their mission is to achieve “zero waste” for Kaikoura by 2015, and to facilitate sustainable employment using waste materials and create viable self-funding projects which protect, restore and enhance the environment.


  • The Youth Team project aims to address the problem of vandalism in their community and provide young people with employment and training which are both scarce in Kaikoura. Innovative Waste also hopes to change the attitude of the local community to young people with a history of troublemaking. They want to tackle this problem in the community rather than sending them elsewhere as has happened in the past.

    The Youth Team project involves taking young people with a history of vandalism, paying them a wage and putting them with a full-time supervisor experienced in dealing with “at risk” youth. The young people are employed in the recycling operations and have the opportunity to learn mechanical, metalwork and engineering skills. After a work ethic and good relationships with other staff are established, the young people can move on to work on other projects being run by Innovative Waste – growing seedlings, tree planting, roadside work in the district and contract work on reserve land.


  • The Employment Catalyst in partnership with The Mayors Taskforce gave $50,000 to this project – which pays for nearly half of the project’s total cost.

    The 30 metre composting unit worked on by the Youth Team


  • By May 30 2003 the young people had been given experience and partial training in carpentry, painting and decorating, welding, section clearing, licenses - HT for one and restricted for 2 others, Pathways to Employment course completed, metal recovery, greenwaste processing, tractor driving, truck driving, communication skills, timesheets, firewood and timber recovery, care of tools and machinery.

    There has been huge change in communication, from eyes on ground to cheerful greetings and all youth on the project now initiate a conversation of their on free will. John Ransley reports that the process of developing good work ethics has been slower than the development of skills and changes in this area are planned for the next intake of young people. Also planned is a goal-setting/evaluation session.

    Innovative Waste Kaikoura
    Kaikoura Safer Community Council
    Department of Work and Income
    Te Whare Putea
    Kaikoura High School

    Support from the general public has escalated from initial skepticism to outspoken (and printed) support.


    Young Kaikoura people are being encouraged to stay in their hometown through the offer of local jobs.

    Manager John Ransley and his co-directors started their Waste Kaikoura business a year ago with the help of Work and Income wage subsidies.

    John says he is grateful for the funding assistance and says his company aims to mentor young people, to instil in them a work ethic and to increase their self-esteem.

    The project involves four young people working at the recycling site. When the volume of recycling product reduces in the winter they work in the company's native tree nursery. There they learn basic construction and horticultural skills. The company uses retired tradespeople to help train the youth.

    Kaikoura Work Broker Philip Taylor says it's great to see businesses supporting local youth. "It's all about making a positive difference and assisting our clients to realise their potential."

    Other organisations also working with Innovative Waste Kaikoura Ltd include Community Employment Group, Mayors' Task Force for Jobs, Employment Catalyst and Zero Waste New Zealand -a trust working with community and local authorities to achieve zero waste.

    For further information contact:
    Work Broker Philip Taylor 0] 984 1588.

    — from Nelson Regional News (Department of Work and Income), August 2002


    Take a couple of armfuls of green waste, add a bucket of kitchen scraps, place them in a special composting unit, turn them every day for a month, harvest the compost and use it to grow native trees to sell to travellers...

    The recipe is yet another concoction dreamed up by the progressive people at Innovative Waste Kaikoura Ltd.

    The first step was designing a 30 metre long composting unit to turn the town’s green waste and kitchen scraps into compost.

    “It’s working better than we thought it would,” says manager John Ransley.

    The waste is turned each day and moved one metre along the vessel.

    At the end of 30 days, compost is produced (up to 1500 litres per day). The aim is to mix two parts of green waste with one part kitchen scraps. The kitchen scraps will initially be collected from restaurants and takeaways, as well as 40 businesses for which the group already runs a recycling pick-up system.

    The group, which has received support under the Community Employment Group community employment organisation initiative, does not want to compete with existing nurseries in the area, so the idea is to grow plants to sell to the almost one million visitors Kaikoura gets each year.

    “They have an enormous impact on the infrastructure of the town and on CO2 emissions,” says John.

    “We’re going to begin a Trees for Travellers venture. Tourists can come to Kaikoura, buy a tree, and we’ll plant it. That will put something back for them rather than just rubbish. The trees will be mapped using GPS, and they will be able to visit a website to see their tree’s location when they return home. This is completing the loop.”

    Income generated from the initiative, and another involving running a mini skip business for the town’s booming construction industry, will be used to finance the group’s landfill and other operations.

    “We need to be self sustaining and this is all part of it,” says John.

    The group was set up in July 2000 as a partnership between Kaikoura Wastebusters Trust and the Kaikoura District Council to run the local landfill and resource recovery centre.

    In the last year, Innovative Waste has gone from employing six full-time and three part-time staff to employing 14 people -- nine full-time, one part-time and four young people in need of work experience. They are paid employees working under a supervisor.

    “They’ve been with us six weeks now and it is absolutely amazing how these young fellows have become part of our team. They are really working well.”

    The group has already developed a compactor which has enabled it to reduce landfill space by 75 percent. An innovative landfill cell block system has been used to bury like materials. A register has been developed of what is buried where, so that in the future the landfill can be recycled.

    Now John, who has received funding under CEG’s social entrepreneur’s initiative, is about to begin visiting more than 50 budding and existing community waste minimisation and recycling projects throughout New Zealand. He is undertaking the visits to learn from others and offer assistance where he can.

    CEG fieldworker Peter Hall says a visit to Innovative Waste Kaikoura is an exhausting process.

    “They have so much enthusiasm and great ideas. It is a great organisation to work with.”

    — from Employment Matters (Community Employment Group), July 2002

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    Innovative Waste Kaikoura

    District Council

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    Department of Work and Income

    Te Whare Putea

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    Kaikoura High School

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    “ As a Mayor, the most important requirement by ratepayers is to spend their money frugally and with common sense. Vandalism, wanton destruction, theft etc is usually by a bored person. Some even get a thrill out of wrecking someone else’s property. So to get them working, get them an interest in life, our vandalism and its associated costs become negligible...”
    Jim Abernathy, Mayor of Kaikoura

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    Project Contact

    Project Manager
    John Ransley
    Innovative Waste Kaikoura
    P.O Box 107
    phone 03 319 7148