Findlay Buchanan

Circles, not lines: Circularity is getting Kiwi incumbents to switch to circular business models

Saving the planet

Circles, not lines: Circularity is getting Kiwi incumbents to switch to circular business models

As environmental pressure and the threat of global calamity drives innovation into business, new economic models have emerged. One of those is the concept of the circular economy, which many local companies – such as For The Better Good, Ethique and Wishbone – have based their business model on. But while momentum gathers, many companies either don’t like the sound of change or don’t know how to change. This is where Circularity comes in. It's a company that designs products and platforms for businesses that have a regenerative circular model. We spoke with its founder, Louise Nash, who currently is also juggling a Masters at Tech Futures Lab that explores how technologies can create mass behaviour change to protect the environment.

Fibre roll-out

There is growing concern about the future of our agricultural sector – particularly livestock farming – which some believe has reached its social, environmental and economic limits. And while our meat and dairy industries have long formed the bones of New Zealand’s economic and cultural anatomy, the future looks grim for both our next generation of farmers and for the land itself. But while an overarching solution is difficult to see, sustainable alternatives exist, and plant based possibilities are beginning to see renewed interest. One of those possibilites is hemp, and according to Dave Jordan, it could eventually account for 60 percent of ‘a new plant based economy’. We sit down with Jordan to glean further insight into the industry and hear about his 10-year wrestle to promote hemp in New Zealand.

Urban Architecture

Twenty years ago the Peacocke family bought a 117-hectare sized piece of land tucked inside the Raglan Harbour, situated five minutes from the local township, and home to a healthy dose of native bush, wildlife, and surrounding beaches. It boasts one of the largest - and most influential - sections in the region, which has turned a large provincial farm, into one of the most significant urban development schemes in Raglan. The development project, named Rangitahi, sees the land subdivided into residential lots and zoned for commercial, community and residential development. Its plan hopes to seed population growth, job creation, and environmental prosperity into the local community. We speak with Sophie Peacocke, head of the marketing and sales team and a member of the Peacocke family, who are collectively running the co-operative operation from their property on the Raglan peninsula.

Fashioning hemp

Step into the second hand store, Waves Vintage, situated down a gully on Karangahape Road, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by fibres and fabrics. The woman at the wooden desk, Helen Young-Loveridge, sits beside her collection of secondhand clothes of which have been hand picked and shipped from Los Angeles to New Zealand. It’s all very curated, from her sexy 1960’s looking leather couch, to the various cottons and silks hung on display. Her new venture, Buddy, is the newest edition to the racks – and possibly the most significant – a new t-shirt range made of 55 percent hemp and 45 percent organic cotton. It’s a true meeting place of environmental ethos, style, and quality – and a potential window into the future of hemp as a fashion fibre. We sit down with the woman in charge, Young-Loveridge, who talks of her past and the new t-shirts for tomorrow.


Wellington based fashion brand, Okewa, is set to unveil its new capsule of mens and womens coats made from 100 percent recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. The new range will be released next Thursday and will be available for pre-order on the Okewa website and via Kickstarter as part of Plastic-Free July. It presents a new direction for Okewa, who is moving down the sustainability route for its high-quality rainwear range. Founders and loving partners Nevada and Nick Leckie share insights into its new clothing line as well as musings of the brand's origins founded in the windiest city in the world.

Virtual Reality

The ‘world’s first’ virtual reality drivers test is here thanks to a collaboration between Government agencies ACC and the NZ Transport Agency - and external partners Strategy Creative, Mixt Studio, and Flying Saucer - which aims to help young people become confident capable drivers. The project launched in July last year, and has since sparked a 30 percent increase in people signing up on the Drive platform, with more than 30,000 sign ups and almost half a million total users who’ve completed 52,000 online road code chapter tests between them. So, could it see the end of traditional drivers tests?

City crafting

The three finalists for the Collett’s Corner development project can now be revealed, with The Hive by In-Flux, Chance Encounters by AHHA and We Dine Together by Oto Group taking out the top spots. The competition is being run by the Ohu (Office for Holistic Urbanism), which plans to create a 2,300 square metre mixed-use building on the Collett's Corner site in the heart of Lyttelton. The building will also be collectively owned by the community it supports, with many local stakeholders taking part in the voting to choose their top designs.

Take it to the streets

Public art has long been a poster of social, cultural and political context to communities. From pou (wooden poles) and Māori carving, to Banksy’s subversive graffiti and epigrams; and more recently Daniel Webb’s mural of 4,490 collected plastic pieces at Dreamland in Margate. The influence of public art has reshaped cities, from the movement in New York City from the late 1980’s, to the distinctive work originated out of Wellington’s Sculpture Trust. And one stand out looking to change culture and enforce public art into New Zealand is Matt Liggins the artist behind ‘The Real Pyramid Schemer’ - an interactive wooden temple structure, perched in cities across New Zealand that supplies free art to the people. Idealog meets up with the man tucked inside the temple, who is giving capitalism the middle finger, and is building public art from the bottom up.

Tech in the regions

Skool Loop, a mobile application company designed to provide school staff with an alternative to arduous administrative procedures, and alert parents to when a natural disaster has occurred has spread across 720 schools across New Zealand and Australia. Founded in Kaikoura, a coastal town typically known for its abundant wildlife and sperm whale population, the company has become one of the largest employers in the community, and has grown from a $10,000 idea into a $1.8 million business. We chat to founder and managing director, Sharlene Barnes, a 52-year-old Cantabrian grandmother who is taking her app through Australasia.