Exploring sustainability and talent pathways: Priority One’s Instep team hosts informative day out for secondary school leaders in Western Bay of Plenty


Priority One’s Instep Team recently hosted an informative day out for the Assistant and Deputy Principals of the secondary schools in the Western Bay of Plenty region. The event was organized with the assistance of Priority One Project Manager – Sustainability Lead, Marissa Nikora. The day centred around ‘Life Cycle Thinking – Sustainability’ and focused on many creative initiatives local business is implementing to reduce their carbon footprint, create sustainability, wellness, and leadership programmes, and provide an insight into the industries and talent pathways available to rangatahi who will become the future workforce.

With the growth in our population not slowing down anytime soon, talent attraction and retention has become more important than ever. The Priority One Instep Team, believe in providing our community with informative and insightful events that aim to bring together individuals from different industries and backgrounds so that we are all contributing to the future of work solution.

The day began with a visit to Trevelyan’s, where the group was greeted by Sacha Koster, Marketing & Communications Manager, Sarah Lei, Head of Sustainability and Daniel Birnie, Head of Avocado. After suiting up in pink high-vis and hair nets the tour of the largest single-site kiwifruit packing operation commenced. The family-owned business, located in Te Puke, has been in operation for forty years. Sitting on approximately thirty hectares. Trevelyan’s has four export packhouses, a local market packhouse, and over forty cool stores, with more under development.

Growers depend on Trevelyan’s to responsibly manage their orchards, pick their fruit promptly, package their fruit expertly, provide cool storage and technical support, and coordinate the logistics of the supply chain nationally and globally. All offshore sales of kiwifruit is managed by Zespri, who is the world’s largest marketer of kiwifruit, selling fruit in more than fifty countries. Zespri works with approximately 2,800 New Zealand and 1,500 international growers and postharvest companies to source Zespri kiwifruit, which is supplied through its distribution partners to wholesale and retail customers. Trevelyan’s currently provides packing and cool storage for red, gold, green, and organic kiwifruit, packing approximately eighteen million trays of kiwifruit, and about 500,000 trays of avocados annually.

As a high producing facility, with over 300 permanent staff and 1500 seasonal staff, Trevelyan’s framework is built on three key pillars; Work Smart, Tread Lightly, and Respect Our People. These pillars help define their kaupapa (purpose) – growing a better future for our people, our environment, and our industry. As an accredited gold certificate WorkWell holder, Trevelyan’s incorporate wellbeing programmes and initiatives into everyday operations such as, health checks, smoke-free clinics and support, community edible garden, Pātaka Kai (food sharing shelf), free mental health workshops on-site, subsidised yoga, Pilates, and boot camps, walking track and fortnightly internal newsletter with tips and tricks.

After retuning the much-loved hairnets, the team set off for Te Mania, a carefully considered, medium density development located in Te Puke. Te Mania is being constructed by Flowerday Homes. Managing Director Rik Flowerday has been in the house and land building industry for many years and day to day operations are managed by General Manager Daren Green. The team have built a strong reputation in the Bay of Plenty and are members of Master Builders.

Flowerday Homes started in 2014 when the company was initially ZB Homes BOP and was in partnership with Zane Beckett. In 2020, Rik and Fiona bought the building company out and have since been transitioning the brand to Flowerday Homes which as an aside is privately owned, not a franchise. In addition to residential builds, Flowerday Homes has also completed several light commercial and townhouse projects and won multiple Master Builder House of the Year awards.

Fiona greeted attendees upon arrival to Te Mania and invited them inside one of the nearly completed homes where she gave a history about the development and property that was originally three kiwifruit orchards.

General Manager, Daren Green, gave an insight into the ways the development has implemented sustainable measures that include separating and limiting their onsite waste, and training all sub-contractors to follow this process. The development uses Envirowaste and has large skip bins located throughout the development, each labelled for a different recycling product such as timber, GIB, cardboard, concrete and metal. As a result of the separation and recycling of as many products as possible, the overall amount of general waste generated in this development has been reduced compared to typical construction sites. Timber waste is transported and processed, all the metals are removed, and the shredded product is then used as biofuel. Cardboard waste is recycled, and GIB plasterboard waste is broken down and the gypsum (containing calcium) is re-used to buffer fertilizer product. Concrete and brick material can also be diverted from landfill using gantry bins and are then recycled. Using these recycling options helps reduce carbon impact and promotes a more sustainable approach to waste management in the construction industry.

Daren says, “a big part of the challenge is around changing habits. Many contractors are used to putting everything into one skip bin and not separating and sorting products into multiple bins. Our goal is to roll these same recycling initiatives out into all our construction sites.”

Te Mania has been landscaped with sustainable foliage and fruit trees that residents will be able to enjoy for years to come. The walking tracks and footpaths have been carefully planned to accommodate wheelchair users and parents with prams and there are multiple play and rest areas dotted throughout, giving a welcomed community feeling. Stage One is well underway with around 47 homes in various stages of construction. The development is a multi-year project which is anticipated to deliver around 400 homes over a number of years.

The Tauriko Pub Co located upstairs in Tauranga Crossing hosted lunch and owner Travis Ferguson busily served the group delicious food and also created a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Janet Vincent, Manager of Tauranga Crossing, joined the guests and gave an informal presentation about the daily operations of running this busy shopping centre. She excitedly updated the group on the new stores and stages coming soon to the mall that will add value and interest for the consumer. Janet explained the many roles and the future career paths available to students at Tauranga Crossing from retail to property management.

Following lunch, the attendees headed to the final business of the day, Brother International, which has been trading in New Zealand for over sixty years. The Chief Operating Officer (COO), Manuel Efaraimo, took the group on a tour of the large facilities with its offices, enormous warehouse, bright and airy common area for staff to come together, which includes an outdoor BBQ space and ending the tour in the fault and testing workshop where a number of large copiers were being custom programmed for the companies that had purchased them; a service Brother provides, so businesses can have their machines up and running upon delivery. Attendees met with Mayuko Hirose in the board room and learned about the sustainable business practices Brother is committed to.

In 2021 they completed a self-assessment that included their business partners and stakeholders. Brother identified seven Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). They then looked at how relevant those SDG were to the business model and what staff were most passionate about. They studied how mature was their current SDG journey and gained an understanding into the value chain and how the SDG link to each operational practice. The seven areas include, Wellbeing, Quality education, Gender equality, Industry innovation and infrastructure, Global climate action, and Life below water and, Life on land. Under the seven SDG sit programmes and initiatives that support local education and groups such as Breast Cancer Awareness and the recycling of used printer ink cartridges and toner cartridges at no cost to the consumer. Brother has removed polystyrene from its packaging switching to recycled cardboard. They are involved in a programme called Litter Intelligence that monitor water way litter national wide. Brother complete litter audits and data collection that informs about waste reduction at Pilot Bay in the Mount. They are also a net carbon zero organisation taking environmental responsibilities seriously and encourage customers to do the same.

The day out was a great success and provided Assistant and Deputy Principals with an insight into the sustainable practices that local businesses are implementing to contribute to a better environment. These businesses are taking a life cycle approach to sustainability, focusing on reducing waste, improving energy efficiency, and minimizing their impact on the regions ecosystem while incorporating wellness and leadership programmes for staff making for a healthier workplace, all with the future in mind.

These local businesses are implementing systems and processes that our future rangatahi will benefit from. It was an opportunity for Assistant and Deputy Principals to understand the pathways available for students in the local community and how wellness and leadership equals talent attraction and retention.