Cel­e­brate 40 years of fair trad­ing

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

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.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

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.

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