Celebrate 40 years of fair trading
Young campaigners are helping New Zealand’s biggest fair trade organisation fly its message on it’s 40th anniversary.
Since 1973 Trade Aid has been assisting the world’s most disadvantaged producers by selling their wares in its shops as well as advocating for them.
To mark the milestone it is holding a kite day in Epsom on Sunday where 1000 kites made by one of its producers in Thailand will be available for the public to paint a message on and fly.
Students at Pt Chevalier Primary School have been decorating kites to fly at the event.
The school is a big supporter of fair trade and its students are introduced to the concept from a young age.
‘‘They develop an understanding of everything to do with fair trade, from learning to recognise the label to why farmers deserve a fair price,’’ teacher Keren Rego says.
‘‘It just starts them thinking about social justice.’’
Trade Aid was founded by Vi and Richard Cottrell in Christchurch.
They had spent two years in the early 1970s volunteering with a Tibetan refugee resettlement programme in India.
Many of the refugees were carpet weavers.
‘‘I inherited a pile of stained crooked carpets,’’ Mrs Cottrell says.
‘‘My job was to find customers all over the world.’’
She quickly realised that without a buyer the refugees’ prospects were bleak.
At first Trade Aid sold Tibetan carpets at a Christchurch art gallery until volunteers started setting up shops.
Today Trade Aid has 29 shops across the country which together sell $29 million worth of products each year.
‘‘It’s absolutely astonishing, I never dreamed it would end up like that,’’ Mrs Cottrell says.
A recent challenge has been getting customers to understand that not everything claiming to be a fair trade product is genuine, she says.
‘‘The minute something catches on, people start using the term very loosely.’’
Auckland Trade Aid Trust chairwoman Raewyn Lucich says Sunday’s Kite Day is an apt way of celebrating the anniversary because kite flying is a big part of many of the cultures of the people Trade Aid helps.
It’s being held at Epsom Girls Grammar School, on Silver Rd in Epsom, from 11am to 3pm.
A family fun day will run alongside with entertainment including local musicians Jesse Sheehan and The Marionettes.
Go to aucklandcityharbournews. co.nz and click on Latest Edition to view a video about fairtrade. Taking flight: Pt Chevalier Primary School students Ava Colthurst, left, Asher Baker, Monita Rowell and Molly Cooper-Smith have been decorating kites to fly at Trade Aid’s 40th anniversary celebration Kite Day.