Walking the talk – research & development manager Huia Iti
This post marks the start of a series where you’ll get to know some of the ecostore team and get insights into how they’re living more sustainably. This week we caught up with our research and development manager Huia Iti, who tells us how life by the sea is a chance to enjoy local food, cut down on waste and tread more lightly on the planet.
1. Tell us about yourself
I’ve lived in the Auckland suburb of Muriwai for the past 14 years, but grew up nearby enjoying the area as our family playground for camping, swimming and fishing. I wake up every day to a view of the sea, and feel lucky that my children are experiencing what I did as a kid.
I commute into Auckland city for work. At ecostore I am responsible for the development of new products and the continuous improvement of our existing range. Ensuring that we source high grade and ethical raw materials from suppliers who are focused on sustainability is also a large part of my role.
Living out of the city means I can come home and head out for a surf before dinner. I’ve recently been getting into making my own furniture from recycled timber, and enjoy bringing old pieces back to life by creating something that’s both functional and beautiful. In my spare time I’m also a volunteer firefighter.
2. What eco activities are you involved in and what changes have you made to live more sustainably?
I provide a lot of my own food through fishing, diving and gardening, which is a really nice feeling. My children love to fish, and when they catch something to have for dinner they feel a real sense of achievement.
My wife Ruth and I look after five large garden beds, filled with fresh vegetables like spinach, cauliflower, tomatoes, potatoes, peas and corn. I have six bokashi bins set up in the garage so no food waste leaves our property and any remains from filleting fish is dug in to the garden.
Ruth is a trustee for the Muriwai Environmental Action Community Trust, and helps to coordinate their events, such as local planting or rubbish pick up days. She’s also tapped into the local community of mums and passes on children’s clothes to new parents so that they can be re-worn.
Eventually when we replace our roof we would like to install solar water and power. It would be great to see the government put some incentives in place, such as a subsidy, because I think a lot of people would make those changes if it was more affordable.
3. What have been the main benefits for your family and the planet from being involved in these activities?
I think that showing my children how to provide their own food helps them to develop an awareness of where what they eat comes from. Hopefully that stimulates a bit of thought around how commercial foods are made and I think a lot of people miss that.
90% of what we eat is vegetable based, so we are saving both money and packaging in growing our own. Composting and recycling also helps to reduce waste, lowering our impact on the environment.
4. Which is your favourite ecostore product and why?
The body butter because the whole family uses it, and it’s a really nice experience.
5. What tip would you offer to those looking to make more environmentally responsible choices?
Grow a garden! Even a small patch can produce a lot, and help to develop a connection to what you consume.