The festival with a point of difference

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

The longest-running festival in New Zealand aims for 100% zero-waste, setting a precedent for other festivals in the country.

Splore celebrates its 20th birthday this weekend.

Festival director John Minty explains, “The big thing was that we went through something like 60,000 cups over the weekend and we thought 'well, there's got to be a better way', so we introduced a reusable goblet about four or five years ago and its cut that waste stream out completely.”

The festival implements sustainable practices to help it towards achieving the zero-waste target.

Local tribal authority spokesperson Tipa Compain says, “It has its impact on the whenua and so we've negotiated between Ngāti Whanaunga and Ngāti Paoa sustainable practice around the wharepaku, the water use, the way in which rubbish is as zero-waste as it can be.”

The festival began in 1998 and Minty says it attracted a collection of conscious punters. 

Minty says one of the challenges is maintaining the theme of sustainability while hosting between 5,000 and 7,000 people.

“It was something that we kept educating our Splorers on every year they came- who weren't necessarily from and environmental background- so it's been an ongoing education program.”

The festival has a strong relationship with local iwi and the theme is incorporated throughout the event, including educational speakers.

Tipa explains, “To remind the Splore whānau that they are entering a very special and significant place for Ngātia Whanaunga and Ngāti Paoa and that they need to respect the opportunity to be there.”

Splore runs from Friday through to Sunday.