Para Kore! Plastic Free Tuesday a hit with Māori

By Leo Horgan

Plastic-Free Tuesday is a growing global movement which aims to make people conscious of their overreliance on plastics.  Participants are encouraged to avoid any plastic use on Tuesdays.  In Aotearoa, this 'Para Kore' initiative has found favour among Māori.

“On Plastic Free Tuesday we skip plastic to reduce our plastic footprint,” says Para Kore’s kaihatū matua Jacqui Forbes (Ngā Ruahine), “That means we don’t buy anything that is made of plastic or contains plastic.  We also don’t use anything made of plastic that we have to throw away after using it.”

The Plastic Free Tuesday movement already has a strong foundation in Māori communities.

“As Māori, we have a strong connection with the whenua, with Papatūānuku, and it is important that we look after our environment,” says Forbes, “Over 170 marae, kura, kohanga reo, community organisations and kaupapa Māori events across Aotearoa have already implemented the Para Kore programme to reduce waste.”

Kahurangi Peke-King-Minnear, a Te Reo Māori teacher who lives in Tāmaki Makaurau, says: "I think it is cool making a start to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of plastic in our everyday life. Starting with one day is a great. Let's build from there."

"Every day we drill, refine and turn oil into items of convenience we use just once then throw away. Some of that plastic will end up on our beaches, in our waterways, in the soil and in our food chain,” says Forbes.

“By committing to be single-use plastic free for a day we can be part of the solution through creating long term habits, which will be modelled to others leading eventually to de-normalising single use plastic items such as disposable cups, straws, plastic bags and water bottles.

“We need to close the loop and integrate reuse into our lives" concludes Forbes.

Learn more about Plastic Free Tuesday here.