The big uncrunch

Got no cash? It’s time to unleash your creative chromosome

Got no cash? It’s time to unleash your creative chromosome

Gena Tuffery


I’m not even going to say it. These days the term for the latest global crisis is about as over-volleyed as a split squash ball. But you know that sound you make when you bite into an apple? Well, forget you never heard it. You’re a New Zealander.

We solve problems in innovative ways. Not because Kiwis are more creative than anyone else but because fresh thinking is born from a lack of exposure to the stale kind and, geographically speaking, we’re all social outcasts.

So in these turbulent times Kiwis could sink—who would notice?—or we can tap into our cork-stopped-petrol-tank motorbike mentality. If you can’t find yours, there’s a ready source of creative capitalist advice available from your compatriots: the Trade Me-and-Exchange merchants. These guys know how to take a small investment of cheek and creatively capitalise the hell out of it.

Example: maybe having an office is taking too big a bite out of your bank balance. Have you considered moving your operation into the bedroom? Not your bedroom—that would be counterproductive—but someone else’s? Think about it: you’d get heaps of work done. You wouldn’t dare surf the net—what if someone walked in while you were checking their bookmarks? And having a kip in someone else’s bed would just be weird.

Considered fish-sitting? There’s a “reliable 26-year-old” Trade & Exchange advertiser who “can look after your fish tank if you are too busy or go on holiday”. He has “eight years experience with goldfish and marine life”

But if you did crash out post-liquid lunch? No worries. At least one local trader is willing to swap a bit of weirdness for, oh, $400 a day:

“We have a spare room in our house available at a cost of $50 per 1.5 hours,” reads the tempting offer at Gumtree. “If you need some office room but do not have the funds for a huge lease, contact me. We can provide a computer, a fax and printer. It is within a residential home. Someone will always be present in the home.”

Free security, even. Bonus.

Maybe you insist on working from your own home. Considered fish-sitting? One Papatoetoe resident has. He’s a “reliable 26-year-old” Trade & Exchange advertiser who “can look after your fish tank if you are too busy or go on holiday”. He has “eight years experience with goldfish and marine life”. And if you’re one of the roughly 1.5 million Kiwis with similar experience who doesn’t live in Papatoetoe, you could unpoachingly do the same.

But fish are demanding little nibblers. The trick to passive income, according to this Trade Me advertiser, is to rent out the bedrooms in your central city Auckland apartment—twice:

“Five bedroom apartment with 3 bathrooms. One Bedroom with 2 beds and wardrobe. SHARE ROOM WITH ONE OTHER MALE. RENT IS $125 EACH FLATMATE. Very comfortable.”

Want to make making money even easier? Take a look at what you have lying around—or more to the point, look at what’s lying around under the person who’s lying around:

“Wanted: Looking too buy Cannabis seeds,” reads an ad on Gumtree. “I'm in Auckland ... just email me”. What are you waiting for? Roll off that couch and email the poor frustrated gardener. Or, on second thought, wait a few days—the relationship between demand and supply is particularly strong in this instance.

The guy with the best worst moneymaking scheme I’ve heard in years would have also done well to wait a bit, preferably till that gardener received, planted and harvested the products of those seeds

“I have this small box of Chestnut Puree in 78gm tubes (12 per box). Will sell per tube ($2 each). Made by Clement Faugier of France. Out of date, but excellent still for many uses.”

If none of the many uses spring to mind, obviously you’re not utilising your Creative Kiwi Capitalist Gene, and you really should jump on the net right now.

You can read, get inspired, go sit in the corner by yourself for a few days and come up with a self-opening tin can. Go on. Don’t make me slap you with a jandal.

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