The Why and The How

OK so from today I begin my year of plastic-free purchasing.

There is an abundance of material about plastic waste and its environmental impacts on the internet – you really don’t have to dig too deep to find it but here is probably one of the most moving ones – it certainly moved me enough to want to do something MORE than just recycle:

The Toroa (albatross) is revered in our culture as a mark of chiefs. My heart breaks for any of the multitude of species that are suffering from our wasteful habits but it was especially poetic that this particular cry was coming from a source of inspiration for so much of our art, adornment, song, dance, and oratory.


So much of who we are, as Māori, stems from the environment and animals that surround us. As artists, performers, singers and orators our link to the environment is suggested, affirmed, and reaffirmed. She is our cultural touchstone and without that link, our identity would be lost. However this is not a Māori issue – this is a human issue. I am merely expressing it through my reality as a Māori woman who wants to explore an alternative to the purchasing habits that present harm to the environment that sustains me AND defines me.

SO… primarily – I want to explore the experience of living for a year without purchasing any new plastics. I’m doing it to highlight how very dependent we’ve become, but also to demonstrate that we CAN make personal choices that will minimise our own plastic waste production. If we were to demonstrate this in greater numbers – we would not only contribute to a better environment but would also present pressure upon suppliers to utilise non-plastic alternatives – making non-plastic alternatives more accessible for others – See how it works? It begins with a few who refuse to believe that it’s too hard to do. I’ve been reading up on the experiences of those who have walked, and are still walking, this path, Merren Tait , Gina Prendergast , and Beth Terry are just a few of the people who I’ve been following and it’s been fascinating, informative and inspirational reading.


This project will need to come with a couple of parameters. So here they are

1. No purchasing of products that are made of, or packaged in plastic.

2. No accepting gifts of products that are made of, or packaged, in plastic.

3. Where a purchase is unavoidable (i.e. all non-plastic alternatives have been exhausted and it is a necessary item):

PLASTIC WRAPPING: Will be kept for a monthly tally and weighing at the end of the year to measure my plastic footprint – I will also send a letter to the supplier suggesting they diversify to non-plastic packaging.

PLASTIC COMPONENT: the item must be purchased second-hand, and will also be included in the monthly tally and end of year accumulative measurement.

NOTE: I won’t be compromising my health, and so where it is necessary to purchase medicine that uses plastic, I will do so. However I will be researching cases for minimising plastic use in medicine and promoting any supportive material on this site.

14 thoughts on “The Why and The How”

  1. Hey, I’ve been living an (almost) plastic-free life for the last 11 months and I can only assure you that you won’t regret it (And it’s actually easier than I thought)! If you need any advice, aks me, would love to share my tipps and tricks from the other side of the world 🙂 Best wishes, Eva

    1. Thanks Eva! Yeah you know there are small issues but honestly I’ve not found it too much of a struggle yet. I think we make it into a bigger struggle than it is because of our own dependency. Will definitely keep in touch – strength in numbers! 🙂

  2. Tina you are amazing and inspirational. Will be checking in with you and attempting to dump the plastic over on my side of our beautiful planet…Caroline, Scotland

    1. Ohhh THANKYOU Caroline that’s means a lot to me…. Especially from Scotland my home away from home! I used to stay in Pitlochry and Tomintoul – Love your country – very special, beautiful environment and I miss it very much, and always glad to hear about those dedicated to protecting it!

  3. My first encounter with the phrase plastic Māori was at high school where my friends spoke of misrepresentation of tangata whenua in parliament by Māori who’d sold out their heritage.
    Is your use of non- plastic Māori intended as irony?

    1. In part – it’s a very literal name that refers to my journey of resisting plastic consumption. It’s also about understanding the role of plastics, and high-consumption economies, in broader personal and political realms of identity and sovereignty.

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