“This started off with me wanting to get into rowing. My teacher said, ‘this is gonna be bloody expensive.’ So I looked at ways to find money; I was looking at getting some sort of minimum wage job.

Then I thought why don’t I start my own business? And then it was like, it’s got to be an eco-friendly business. If it’s not eco-friendly, what am I doing? Like, I’m young. I need to think about what my future is and how I need to help the environment.

I actually watched a few YouTube videos, and I found that you can turn bottle-caps into chopping boards and stuff like that. And then I thought, why don’t we make skateboards out of them? And then that whole idea just blew up into this massive thing. And yeah from there, I realized, once I start if I really focus on this, I don’t think I really need to get into rowing to keep myself active. This is such a big thing in my life now.

Obviously, we are in a very dangerous spot right now about the environment and about climate change. I needed to do something quick. So I felt like I’m doing my part. Using 1200 bottle caps per skateboard that aren’t in Kate Valley makes me so proud.

My dream is to just keep on making them. I mean, my dream would be we learn a way to recycle caps. That would put me out of business completely, but I would be fine with that. Because that’s my dream. I want us to be recycling. And also my dream is to teach people that everything doesn’t need to look amazing. Like, it doesn’t all need to be the same colour. We don’t need everything to have a label on it. It’s okay to be a little bit rustic.

Yeah, I mean, this project wouldn’t be here without Ao Tawhiti school really. The school is supporting me by giving me time to do what I want. We call it home-base to SDL time; we spend about six hours a week in home-base doing SDL. SDL stands for self-directed learning.

Next term I’m doing a business class. So that’s big for me. I’m learning through doing, but also like, I’m year 10 so I don’t need to fully focus on getting NCEA right now. I mean, you’ve got to come here to learn. You’re here to learn. I’m just so proud of what I’ve done.”

– Neith

Charity registration number: CC57701