Good Stuff

Good Stuff Doing Good Things

Shapers Inc. is a global community linking the world’s finest shapers and artists together through a minimal design-led approach. They donate 1% of profits to environmental charities through One Percent Collective.

Proof Eyewear’s Skate Collection is handcrafted from Canadian maple skateboards. They also like to give back, with a portion of each purchase going to a worthy cause. Eco Guardian is the distributor in NZ, they also donate 1% of their profits monthly through One Percent Collective, legends!

Flox has teamed up with children’s charity SpinningTop and The Body Shop to create this owl decoration with all profits going to support vulnerable children in Thailand, Burma and Samoa. Just $3.50 at all The Body Shop stores.

WE’AR Yoga Clothing is crafted in an ethical, sustainable way and is deliciously light for yoga, dance practice and the beach. WE’AR also supports Yoga Education in Prisons Trust and other charities. Practical fashion with a conscience!

Sustainable Coastlines bottle.
Plastic bottles take 700 years to begin composting. These re-usable, stainless steel alternatives are most definitely a good idea, plus you’re supporting a great cause: keeping our oceans clean!

Conscious Consumers now have a ‘Generosity’ badge to add to their collection. Download their app to ensure you are supporting ethical and generous businesses in your city.

Dan Pallotta is changing the way people think about changing the world. His famous TEDtalk and books challenge how we think about charity and show us how we need to dream big.

If These Walls Could Talk. Stories about people who like to paint on walls. Watch now!

Mons Royale is merino underwear and first layer designed for the rider’s lifestyle. They use merino wool because it’s soft, warm, regulates your temperature, and doesn’t stink. We are constantly inspired by them!

A Bit Mental by Jimi Hunt. Jimi’s book, charity and life story will inspire you to get out there and live more awesome. His advice has helped One Percent Collective through the challenging times so we can honestly say, you will love it!

TOMS Shoes collaborates with the Clinton Foundation and Wildlife Conservation Society to provide financial support for programmes protecting elephants in Africa from poaching. And for every pair of TOMS bought, a pair is given to a child in need.

Gingerella by Karma Cola. Organic and fairtrade and available in many good places, including all Mexico restaurants in NZ.

Happy Money by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton. “New research demonstrates spending money on others provides a bigger happiness boost than spending money on yourself.” Go be generous, be happy and read this book to learn more here…

Little Lot places wallpapers on your devices, collects the advertising revenue made and donates 75% of it to New Zealand charities. You choose which charity it goes to – and you don’t have to do a thing. Plus the wallpapers are incredibly stunning, everyone wins!

Seth Godin

Seth Godin is a remarkable advocate of making things happen. His daily blogging is a wellspring of inspiration for One Percent Collective and his hard-working habit of catalyst thinking is brave and brilliant. An early pioneer of ‘permission marketing’, Godin sold his 90s online start-up to Yahoo! and became its vice-president of direct marketing untill 2000. The author of 17 books, and last year inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame, Godin is well-versed in making things better and doing it for the right reasons. As he so eloquently puts it, “leading and leaping and doing work that matters is its own reward”. We couldn’t agree more.

What’s happening in the world of Seth Godin for 2014? Not just my world, our world. It’s really tempting to imagine that we each get to set an agenda for ourselves, and the world’s job is to line up and help us make it happen. I’ve learned that the opposite is often the case. The world is more connected than ever before, and the more open and vulnerable we can be to what’s possible, the more opportunities present themselves.

Describe the most generous person you know and how they influenced you. How long is your long run? I know people who measure the world in ten second flashes, and they’re happy to do something they call generous for six seconds, as long as they get a payback within ten seconds.

For me, what makes someone inspirationally generous is that they’ve figured out that the long run might just be forever. That leading and leaping and doing work that matters is its
own reward, despite the knocks and the criticism and the failures. The moms of the world are my influencers, the moms that have figured out how to raise kids that care.

Name an everyday action that makes the world a better place, yet is underrated. I think that blogging every day is a huge gift. Not for the reader (though it might be) but for the writer. If you write something every single day about your journey, your vulnerability and how you can help, it will change the way you think and act. Don’t chase an audience, chase your best self.

Tell us three things that inspire you and why. Books. Pema Chodron, Steve Pressfield, Brene Brown, Lewis Hyde, Pam Slim... and the online videos of my friend and hero, Sarah Kay.

Photography by Jill Greenberg.


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Dai's Plan To Save The World

Humans have the power to destroy but we also have the power to fix. The Thames is less polluted now than it was in the 1800s. My body is in better shape than it was when I was in my 20s. Don’t focus on the people who are destroying the world, focus on the day-to-day things that you are doing to save the world. Help your children, family and friends to love, care for animals, mammals and the planet.


Learn to swim in a forest.

Get involved with nature! Take up swimming, mountain biking, trail running or even just running after your mountain bike while it floats down a river. Getting out and getting involved with nature can show you just how important it is to the world. If you are a dictator or even just a budding dictator, getting out for a walk or a swim in the forest will calm you down, and when you are sitting under that waterfall having a nice cup of Oolong tea you will think to yourself: “Why don’t I just chill out? Maybe the world is a better place if I am not a dictator.”

If you are caught up in the grind of the city, take yourself to an empty beach and have a swim. This will wash away the grind and remind you how awesome the world is. No matter what though, remember to swim between the flags. If you can’t get to a beach, just have a bath and think about what you are grateful for. If we all do that we are one step closer to saving the world. However, in the bath always remember to swim between the taps.


Travel your socks off!

By travelling and absorbing other cultures you can begin to respect everyone on the planet. Your perception of other cultures goes from “That’s weird” to “That’s awesome.” It is always good to travel to a destination where you are the outsider. And on a more base level someone has to buy those Thai fishermen pants, Thai fishermen aren’t buying them. I have been to Thailand and I have never seen a fisherman wearing those pants. I have seen a lot of people at music festivals with ginger dreadlocks and fire-pois wearing them though. Maybe they should be called white tourist fire-poi pants.

When you respect another culture you don’t fear it. You realise there are good people everywhere. Difference is awesome. You would hate to have the same meal every night*. Variety is the spice of life and when you realise how special everyone is it reminds you to save the planet. Because if we don’t, humans can’t continue to be awesome.

*if the meal was tacos I could probably have the same meal every night.

Words by Dai Henwood, Photography by Gareth Moon

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Kimbra Lee Johnson was introduced to the world as the voice of Gotye’s Grammy-winning ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’. But her debut album Vows – released just weeks after the Gotye hit – revealed a multi-talented musician with ideas of her own, which she explores and expands with her second album, The Golden Echo. An intense fusion of pop, funk and electronica, the songs reflect Kimbra’s philosophical and sometimes mystical views on life. In fact the singer had just enrolled in a philosophy course at the University of Auckland when, at age 17, she was offered the recording and management deal that swept her away from New Zealand, and ultimately to her position today as one of the world’s fastest-rising stars. But Kimbra doesn’t feel she has missed out on an education. 

You have to become your own student and I see myself as a student. Every day I wake up and think, okay what can today teach me?

Every songwriting session I’ve been to, every musician I’ve worked with, every time I sit down at the computer to work on something, it’s like you have to keep the mind of a child that’s there, ready to learn. 

Pretty much all I read is books on schools of thought within religion, thoughts on philosophy, thoughts on science. There’s nothing more important or more interesting to me than, why are we here and how we got here, whether that be scientific or existential or spiritual. And I certainly don’t have the answers but I’m definitely searching and I’m very excited by it. 

In what way does that search express itself in your work? I actually feel like my deepest moments in a philosophical sense come from melody and rhythm more than lyrics. Of course I think lyric is an amazing way to tell a story and a message, but where I feel I’ve transcended has been in musical moments. Just closing my eyes and a particular melody just hits the spot in such an incredible way. I fear that words cheapen an experience. I get nervous to write about things that are very dear to me because I know words don’t do them justice. If you have an experience that goes beyond language and material things it is very hard to communicate that stuff with words. That’s why you have Picasso and Michelangelo and incredible composers like Mozart and Bach, because these people are saying those things to us you can’t necessarily say with words. 

Being an artist seems to demand a degree of vulnerability. One risks emotional exposure or demands it in a way other professions don’t. Does it seem like that you? Yeah, for sure. There are two very different lives you lead as an artist. One is quite introverted, well it is at least for me, the one of going into the studio and getting very in touch with your own emotions, very in touch with your feelings. You have to be vulnerable to write music and channel from that place. And then the other side of your career and life is output and external personality and my music has very charismatic colourful elements to it. And you do have to put some walls up in that kind of scenario, because people have connected with you because of your vulnerability and when they meet you there’s that sense that ‘I have access to you, I have access to your heart and your soul’. There’s a sense of entitlement sometimes, articles that are written on celebrity life demanding to know what an artist is doing every minute of the day. 

I think you balance it by just maintaining a sense of normality in your life. Nature is amazing for that, because there is a real indifference in nature, there is a sense of just being part of a whole. That’s what keeps me not getting too carried away with it all, reserving space for myself so you don’t get drained. You leave it for the music, that’s the place I put it into, the vulnerability and all that, and the rest of my life has to have a little bit of a boundary around it, I think many artists do that. 

Did growing up in New Zealand help ground you and prepare you for such demands? Of course, absolutely. We’re a relaxed culture, and there was a community feel to the way we grew up. I didn’t grow up on a farm but I was around animals a lot. And the Waikato river – I’d go down there every day, I’m so connected to that, I know what it feels like to be totally anonymous.

Do you think an artist or performer has a particular responsibility? It’s different for every artist. I personally feel a responsibility to speak from a truthful place, to speak from the heart and bring positive energy into the world. The essence of this album has a very strong sentiment attached to it, inspired by a dream I had. It was just those words, ‘the golden echo’, going around and around. I didn’t know where it came from and when I went on the internet to see what it was all about it led to the story of Narcissus, which had a lot of resonances for our culture – the projection of self everywhere and all that – and a poem which had the line: ‘How to keep beauty from vanishing away? To give beauty back.’ When I received that dream I took it on as a responsibility to follow through, not to ignore it but to think maybe this came for a reason.

Words by Nick Bollinger. 


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Gina Kiel

The Generosity Journal’s cover artist Gina Kiel is a Wellington-based illustrator who works on creative and commercial projects both at home and abroad. Her distinctive style often combines traditional art media with digital work.

Because this is the first issue I felt I had to create something that would really capture what The Generosity Journal is all about. I also wanted to illustrate my perspective on the Brené Brown quote – that it’s not so much what we know about the world, it’s our relationship with the world that matters most. 

The biggest challenge for me was visually interpreting a written quote – illustrating it with pictures rather than words. Switching from pictures to words is difficult because they come from different parts of the brain. 

My illustrations always start with pencil and paper. The first stage involves a lot of thinking. I’m a mum as well, so a lot of time is spent away from my desk. I visualise things a lot because I can’t always get to that pencil and paper! To get started I watched some of Brené Brown’s TEDtalks, sketched ideas, got inspiration from different angles.

The cover shows three of the most fundamental ways in which I think we experience and relate to life: the eye that sees the world, the heart that feels the pain and the hand that holds and heals. I sketched it, scanned it, digitally added outlines and then filled in colours. I wanted to create something really bright and with a lot of energy, that’s how I felt about it. Brené Brown is so inspirational – how can it not be an awesome thing to illustrate a quote from someone like that?

Words by Rebekah White. Photography by Harry A'Court.


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Gosia Piatek is an expert in making something out of nothing. She had never run a business, didn’t know much about fashion and certainly didn’t have any money when she started Wellington-based clothing label Kowtow. It’s now stocked around the world and employs people at home in the capital and abroad. “I wanted to do something that was good, sustainable, ethical,” she says. “It made sense. It was time to do it.”

Piatek had just finished up a contract for Weta Digital, was unemployed and had no dependents. She had nothing to lose, and knew she wanted to start a business: one that might put some good into the world. The question was, what kind of business?

She kept jotting down ideas, but none of them stuck. It was over dinner one night that a friend told her to start an eco fashion brand. At the time, fairtrade and organic were labels normally applied to food, but rather than brushing off the idea, Piatek googled it. She found a factory in Calcutta, India with ethical standards she approved of, willing to accept a clothing order that was tiny by international standards, and a source of cotton that was fairtrade and organic.

Piatek secured a distributor in Australia and drafted and redrafted a business plan until she was granted a government loan. Kowtow started out as a collection of t-shirts, each of which came with a CD of independent music. “I got a WorkStart grant – that was cool, it was $10,000. Which lasted about a month. But I was too naive to realise any of this. I thought it was heaps of money.”

Piatek comes from a family of risk-takers. They fled Poland’s Communist regime in 1985, and since passports weren’t easy to come by, her parents pretended they were taking part in a competition overseas. After two years in Italy, New Zealand accepted the family as refugees, the World Council of Churches donated airfares and Piatek’s parents arrived in Wellington with $200 and two small children. Piatek has the same no-nonsense attitude toward making the best of things. “You can make something out of nothing easily if you've got the passion and the willingness,” she says with a shrug. “Maybe people give up too easily. Cause it does get really tough.”

It’s less tough now. Piatek stuck it out through the lean years of a young business, evolving the brand into a more sophisticated collection. Kowtow still sells t-shirts, but they form a line of minimal basics that sit side-by-side with architectural, avant-garde creations. They’ve also branched out into underwear, accessories, even homewares. The brand is a regular fixture in New Zealand’s fashion press, and has been garnering international attention via magazines such as Yen, Frankie and Elle Italy. Piatek has just employed two new staff, bringing the Wellington studio up to a team of eight.

But Piatek knows that Kowtow’s success is due to its high design values rather than its fairtrade certification. She’s under no illusions: Kowtow’s ethical attributes were never its selling point. The garments had to be cool first, and good for the world second. “We don’t market Kowtow to the converted. It should be well designed, it should fit well, the fabric should be quality, the colours should be nice.”

The difference is that on Kowtow’s website, you can find photo stories of its cotton being harvested and milled, plus a visual tour through the factory where its garments are manufactured. Piatek visits it regularly. “I can confidently say that we make products that are sustainable and ethical. They’re not 100% perfect at all. But I can walk around the factories, they don't use child labour, they have regular holidays, paid breaks and all that.”

It hasn’t been an easy ride. Kowtow may have grown, but it’s still tiny in the scale of things, and it’s common for their orders to be postponed or overlooked in the face of last-minute orders from American or European giants, meaning late deliveries. “As we grow that can be quite dangerous. You can't say to people that we're limited in the factories we use. The fast fashion world wants it there on time, which is fair enough. We try to work as best we can, well in advance, just to reach our deadlines.”

Piatek says there are only five or six factories that she regards as appropriate to use in India. She has just started working with a second factory in Mumbai, which she’s optimistic about. “They seem just a little bit smaller, a little bit more onto it. The owner is really into the idea of sustainability.”

Kowtow’s team in New Zealand challenge Piatek to keep the brand’s ethical standards high. All Kowtow’s buttons are made from recycled hemp; parcels are sent out in recycled card  packages. They haven’t yet found a source of sustainable, ethically produced zips, so Kowtow clothing doesn’t use them. They come up with inventive design solutions instead.

It’s clear that Piatek is proud of helping people make a living on the home front in Wellington as well as in India. “I don't have too many contractors, I try and employ people because you need to pay sick pay and holiday pay, it's all really important stuff. Even New Zealanders get taken for a ride sometimes – companies taking on contractors when they should be taking on employees.”

Another big positive for her is the leadership role she’s able to take within the industry. “I think that's why I've always been drawn to the business side – showing other entrepreneurs and other businesspeople and people who are larger than ourselves, big organisations, that you can do business ethically and sustainably in a profitable way. It's not about having to scrimp and save all the time. It's about having an awesome product that people want.”

Words by Rebekah White. Photography by Pat Shepherd.


Guy Ryan

Guy Ryan is the founder and chief executive of Inspiring Stories, a charitable trust which has helped more than 5000 young Kiwis engage with the big issues of our time. The trust’s programmes include Festival for the Future, a weekend of inspiration for budding world-changers, and Live the Dream, a 10-week accelerator programme for young social entrepreneurs and their ventures.

I grew up in a tiny rural village on the West Coast of the South Island, a place called Granity: 150 houses, a tiny sliver between the rainforest and the ocean. It’s about as rural as it gets. I wasn’t hugely into high school, but I scraped through with three Cs and moved to Dunedin to study – mostly because I had three aunties there and it had good surf. 

At university I got fascinated with photography and filmmaking. I used to get cameras out every weekend and make surfing and skating films with mates and put on big premiere parties.

After my degrees in design and marketing I did a two-year Masters in Science Communication, looking at the big issues of our time and how communication could help to disseminate them. In the second year you team up with another person, produce a 25-minute film and write a thesis. My thesis looked at climate change, psychology around behaviour change and the role that narrative can play. Nick Holmes and I made a film, Carving the Future, which told stories about four young New Zealanders taking action on climate change, and went on to win at the Colorado Film Festival as well as be one of three finalists in the world for the BBC’s Newcomer Award.

In the last year of the Masters we seemed to find everything to do except coursework. We created two community festivals – the Spring Food Festival in Dunedin which partnered with the local farmers’ market, and an adventure festival, A Day at the Beach, where we walked 350km from one end of the West Coast to the other over a month. We worked with local communities along the way to remove about six tonnes of rubbish and plant 5000 trees. We also started a film production company to hone our craft for paying clients – it took us on adventures as far away as Nepal.

On the back of all this I set up Inspiring Stories. I was asking myself: what if every young
New Zealander unleashed their potential to change the world? What would it take to make that happen? I was lucky enough to win a World of Difference scholarship from Vodafone in 2011, which gives you a year’s support: salary and expenses to lead a youth-focused project of your choice. But it’s only a year, so you’ve got to figure out how to make it work. 

I think often young people are undervalued in society. We get told a lot about what we can’t do, rather than focusing on our imagination and possibility. The issues our generation faces are immense, and more complex than ever before. We need to be encouraging young people to dream, to step up and play a role in creating solutions. Inspiring Stories is all about giving them the skills and confidence to do that.

We’re now coming to the end of our fourth year. It’s been an epic adventure. We’re starting to see some pretty cool ripple effects as young people grow their ideas for a better New Zealand across areas as diverse as the arts, housing, health, wellbeing and food resilience. It’s the road less travelled for sure, but the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are usually the ones that do.

Words by Rebekah White. Photography by Pat Shepherd.


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The Little Things

We spoke to five humans at different stages of life about trying to make it good. We riffed on what things they were a little bit proud of and what things they were still working on about themselves. The talented Natasha Vermeulen drew these snippets of conversation into portraits of the little things that matter.

Singer, dancer, maker, artist. Edi raised quite a lot of money for the charity SpinningTop by selling her art! Quite a big thing really...

A bit proud of: Myself!  •  That I help the children that don’t have any mummy and daddy  •  I am healthy, I eat healthy food and stuff  •  My art, cause I’m really good at it

Still trying to: Stop forgetting about eating my lunch, cause I’m too busy  •  Stop taking toys off my sister  •  Not eat too much sugar, it makes me a bit crazy

Arty, swimming enthusiast, loves the ocean, always happy, not a fan of jelly shoes, likes talking and making up strange songs.

A bit proud of:  My visual art piece won the most votes to raise money for Wellington Rape Crisis this year – $400 in total from all art in comp  •  I try to not to use plastic bags whenever I can  •  I always say hello to the bus driver

Still trying to:  Sometimes I’m a bit lazy and don’t put things in the right recycling bin  •  I really shouldn’t eat so much brownie that I throw up  •  Helping my little brothers when my parents are busy

Glassjar app marketing guy by day (and night), Jack also loves music and chilling in the Pacific. 

A bit proud of:  I solved the puzzle and made it work! @GoGlassjar  •  Getting help from experienced developers who show me the ropes [so generous]  •  Remembering to return the scooter keys to the guy in Niue

Still trying to:  Learn more songs note by note  •  Nail the solo from One of These Nights
by The Eagles on the guitar  •  Go running 3 times a week

Dog and motorbike loving uber geek on a mission to be a grown-up. Aimee is a proud new(ish) homeowner.

A bit proud of:  I got around to adopting an adult dog that needed a home... @RufusFoscroft  •  I built a website called IdeaForge where underutilised people, fresh ideas and resources come together. Giving away practically all of my spare ideas now! @ideaforgeIO

Still trying to:  I EVEN EAT FRUIT THESE DAYS!  •  I’ve tried to quit smoking repeatedly but haven’t nailed it just yet...  •  The better I am, the better I can be to the people around me, and the world I live in

Maker of space for others to make in (AKA Makerspace), Tenacious Ferret, pilot, friend, boss and mentor. 

A bit proud of:  Being worthy enough to be asked for advice feels pretty great  •  Created a non-profit portion of my business so that kids can code and make robots  •  My community, my business, having people turn up who want to learn

Still trying to:  Push myself beyond my little box, make the box bigger  •  Get out of your head man!  •  Learn a language, because I never really needed to but now am going to Spain and don’t want to be ‘that rude bastard’

Tweet us about a little thing you think makes the world a better place. @OnePercentNZ and download an A4 printable PDF of The Little Things List here.

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Conrad Smith

A decade of solid service to our beloved All Blacks has established Conrad Smith as both a household name and somewhat of a living legend. His down to earth attitude, determination and passion which extends to many aspects of his life means that he is an individual that young and old New Zealanders alike can look up to. A barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand, Smith illustrates that good work ethic goes a long way. His involvement in charity work showcases this further and rounds off a lifestyle that reflects his inspiring attitude.


What’s happening in the world of Conrad Smith? I’m currently on tour with the All Blacks, coming to the end of another pretty gruelling year of rugby. I can’t wait to get back home to spend the summer with my wife and 3 month old son. Fatherhood has been an amazing experience and the trips away are suddenly a whole lot tougher. There is not a lot of time outside of all this but I’m still trying to find time for my other hobbies, mainly; trying to cook, reading to keep my brain active and working out how to beat Beauden Barrett at golf.

Describe the most generous person you know. How have they influenced you? My Mum would be my first answer, but she doesn’t like me talking about her, so outside of her, the most generous person I know would be Cassandra Treadwell, founder and chief executive of the charity So They Can. I met Cass a few years ago and she told me about a displaced community she had met in Kenya. She was so touched by their plight that she went back home and has spent the last 7+ years building a charity that has since constructed a school, an orphanage, countless homes and completed many other projects. She works tirelessly and now has a massive team, myself included, caught up in her mission to help.

Can you name an everyday action that makes the world a better place, yet is underrated? Good manners. ‘Please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘you’re welcome’, said with a smile. So easy to do and always makes people feel better about themselves. 

Can you tell us three things that inspire you and why? A good sports documentary... like the ESPN documentary, 30 for 30s. They show how sport can inspire people to do pretty special things. People like Cass... seeing what they have done is very inspirational. Volunteers... particularly in sport, people who give up a ton of time and effort and don’t ask for anything in return – the world needs more of them.

Photography by Pat Shepherd. Intro by Cam Murdoch.

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Marianne Elliott

Marianne Elliott believes that it is possible to do good and be well – definitely words to live by! These days she pours her considerable energies into supporting change-makers to bring about a kinder, safer world. With a background as a human rights lawyer working in NZ, Timor-Leste, Gaza and Afghanistan Elliott has plenty to bring to her present incarnation as restaurateur, yoga teacher, zen peace-keeper and storyteller.

What’s happening in the world of Marianne Elliott this year? This year I was offered the opportunity to launch a new online movement, ActionStation, for New Zealanders who want to take action, to work together to make our country the kind of place we want to live in – with a fair and equitable society, a healthy and flourishing environment and transparent and accountable government. It’s been a fantastic ride so far, a chance to bring together everything I’ve ever done – from human rights advocacy in Afghanistan to opening a Mexican restaurant in Wellington – and find creative ways to use everything I’ve learned for good.

Describe the most generous person you know. How have they influenced you? My partner Lucas is one of the most generous people I know. He’ll give you whatever he has that you need. He’ll say yes as often as possible – whether you need someone to help chop firewood, help edit your music video, money to get your book of poetry published, a car to go on holiday with your kids, or a job to get you through a rough patch. If he has it, he’ll give it. And he’s not asking “What will I get out of this?” He’s just asking, “What’s needed here that I might have to give?” He inspires me to be more generous, to say yes more often, to worry less about running out (of time, of money, of ideas) and trust that there is plenty of all of that to go around. 

Can you name an everyday action that makes the world a better place, yet is underrated? Words of kindness. Every time anyone anywhere makes the time to say something kind to someone else, the overall balance of the world gets tipped towards goodness. It’s so obvious as to be a cliché, but it’s true. A phone call to my grandmother. An email to a friend. A card in the mail to someone just to tell them I think they are doing great. When I think I’m too busy to make time for that, I know I’ve lost my sense of perspective. 

Can you tell us three things that inspire you and why? 
Book: I'm currently reading 'The Impossible Will Take A Little While' a compilation of essays edited by Paul Rogat Loeb. I recommend it to anyone who ever feels hopeless or despairing about the state of the world or our ability to turn things around. 

Documentary: Documentaries inspire me generally; their capacity to take my into another person's world and change my perspective on our own world inspired me. The most inspiring documentary I've seen in a long time is Gardening With Soul, by Jess Feast. 

Podcast: Roshi Joan Halifax teaches and practices at the intersection of spiritual practice and social justice. She inspires me. You can find podcasts of her talks on at Upaya Dharma Talks.

Photography by Susannah Conway.


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The Life You Can Save

This is an excerpt from Peter Singer’s book The Life You Can Save, which helped inspire the foundations of One Percent Collective through its simple call to action: if everyone contributed a small amount, we could create some positive change in the world.

When he saw the man fall onto the subway tracks, Wesley Autry didn’t hesitate. With the lights of the oncoming train visible, Autry, a construction worker, jumped down to the tracks and pushed the man down into a drainage trench between the rails, covering him with his own body. The train passed over them, leaving a trail of grease on Autry’s cap. Autry, later invited to the State of the Union Address and praised by the president for his bravery, downplayed his actions: “I don’t feel like I did something spectacular. I just saw someone who needed help. I did what I felt was right.”

What if I told you that you, too, can save a life, even many lives? Do you have a bottle of water or a can of soda on the table beside you as you read this book? If you are paying for something to drink when safe drinking water comes out of the tap, you have money to spend on things you don’t really need. Around the world, a billion people struggle to live each day on less than you paid for that drink. Because they can’t afford even the most basic health care for their families, their children may die from simple, easily treatable diseases like diarrhoea. You can help them, and you don’t have to risk getting hit by an oncoming train to do it.

I have been thinking and writing for more than 30 years about how we should respond to hunger and poverty. I have presented this argument to thousands of students in my university classes and in lectures around the world, and to countless others in newspapers, magazines, and television programs. As a result, I’ve been forced to respond to a wide range of thoughtful challenges. My book, The Life You Can Save, represents my effort to distill what I’ve learned about why we give, or don’t give, and what we should do about it.

We live in a unique moment. The proportion of people unable to meet their basic physical needs is smaller today than it has been at any time in recent history, and perhaps at any time since humans first came into existence. At the same time, the proportion of people with far more than they need is also unprecedented. Most important, rich and poor are now linked in ways they never were before. Moving images, in real time, of people on the edge of survival are beamed into our living rooms. Not only do we know a lot about the desperately poor, but also we have much more to offer them in terms of better health care, improved seeds and agricultural techniques, and new technologies for generating electricity. More amazing, through instant communications and open access to a wealth of information that surpasses the greatest libraries of the pre-Internet age, we can enable them to join the worldwide community – if only we can help them to get far enough out of poverty to seize the opportunity. 

The economist Jeffrey Sachs has argued convincingly that extreme poverty can be virtually eliminated by the middle of this century. We are already making progress. In 1960, according to UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, 20 million children died before their fifth birthday because of poverty. In 2007, UNICEF announced that, for the first time since record-keeping began, the number of deaths of young children has fallen below 10 million a year. Public health campaigns against smallpox, measles, and malaria have contributed to the drop in child mortality, as has economic progress in several countries. The drop is even more impressive because the world’s population has more than doubled since 1960. Yet we can’t become complacent: 9.7 million children under five still die; this is an immense tragedy, not to mention a moral stain on a world as rich as this one. And the sharp rise in food prices that occurred in 2008 could still reverse the downward trend in poverty-related deaths. 

We can liken our situation to an attempt to reach the summit of an immense mountain. For all the eons of human existence, we have been climbing up through dense cloud. We haven’t known how far we have to go, nor whether it is even possible to get to the top. Now at last we have emerged from the mist and can see a route up the remaining steep slopes and onto the summit ridge. The peak still lies some distance ahead. There are sections of the route that will challenge our abilities to the utmost, but we can see that the ascent is feasible. 

We can, each of us, do our part in this epoch-making climb. In recent years there’s been a good deal of coverage of some among the very rich who have taken on this challenge in a bold and public way. Warren Buffett has pledged to give $31 billion, and Bill and Melinda Gates have given $29 billion and are planning to give more. Immense as these sums are, they are only a small fraction of what people in rich nations could easily give, without a significant reduction in their standard of living. We won’t reach our goal unless many more contribute to the effort. 

That’s why this is the right time to ask yourself: What ought I be doing to help? 

It may not be possible to consider ourselves to be living a morally good life unless we give a great deal more than most of us would think it realistic to expect human beings to give. If it is so easy to help people in real need through no fault of their own, and yet we fail to do so, aren’t we doing something wrong?

What would your fair share be? One very crude way of calculating this figure is to estimate by how much the income of the world’s poor falls below the poverty line, and then calculate how much money it would take to move all the poor above this line, to the level at which they have enough income to meet their basic needs.

Jeffrey Sachs did this and concluded that in 2001 it would have taken $124 billion a year to raise everyone above the poverty line. The combined gross annual income of the 22 rich OECD nations in that year was $20 trillion. Therefore the contribution needed to make up the shortfall is 0.62 percent of income, or 62 cents of every $100 earned. A person making $50,000 per year would owe just over $300. This is hardly a crippling sum. By comparison, in 1999 Americans spent $116 billion on alcohol. Giving just half of this to the poor would cover all Americans’ share of what needs to be done, and still allow those who enjoy a drink to have one or two.

What does it takes to live ethically in a world in which 18 million people are dying unnecessarily each year? That’s a higher annual death rate than in World War II. In the past 20 years alone, it adds up to more deaths than were caused by all the civil and international wars and government repression of the entire 20th century, the century of Hitler and Stalin. How much would we give to prevent those horrors? Yet how little are we doing to prevent today’s even larger toll, and all the misery that it involves?

Reprinted from The Life You Can Save by Peter Singer ©2009. Published by The Text Publishing Company.

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What's 1% to you?

One Percent Collective exists to inspire generosity and to simplify regular giving so small charities can spend more time working on impact and less time on fundraising.

So how much money is 1% for most people then? For someone on the average hourly wage in NZ, 1% is $10 a week. Actually it works out to less than $7 as you can get tax back on a donation! What about everyone in Aotearoa’s 1%? Based on figures from Philanthropy NZ’s 2011 report:

  • Increasing personal giving to 1% of GDP would mean an extra $426.5 million for the charitable sector.
  • Increasing business giving to 1% of GDP would mean an extra $1.82 billion for the charitable sector. 

Imagine all that money flowing to NZ charities ON THE REGULAR! Happy days! Charities being able to get on with doing good stuff! 

So far our 150+ donors have raised over $90,000 for our partner charities with their 1%. Pretty amazing what 1% can do!

We asked some of our donors and friends what 1% is for them and this is what we got:

Join the collective and give your 1% to one of our six partner charities or pick YOUR favourite charity and go start giving your 1% on the regular. 

Sam Judd

Sam Judd is the co-founder and chief executive of Sustainable Coastlines, the non-profit dedicated to cleaning up coasts and educating both young and old about how to care for them. So far it’s reached more than 100,000 people, removed more than a million litres of junk from beaches and planted nearly 20,000 trees.

I stayed at university for five and a half years, partly as a way to do a lot of surfing. I did two exchanges – I spent a year in Mexico, learned Spanish and caught the best waves of my life. Later on I did my final-year papers in Chile and then travelled up to the Galapagos Islands. I ended up living there for seven months on an island called San Cristobal. 

I met this hilarious Kiwi guy with a handlebar moustache who ended up staying on my couch. He was talking about going on a fishing boat to pick up rubbish – they have a programme where they take volunteers to clean up the coast. Three of us Kiwis went out there for eight days and picked up 1.6 tonnes of rubbish. It was a hilariously shitty old boat: one night the bunk I was sleeping on caved in and landed on the guy underneath. It opened up my eyes to the fact that rubbish floats for miles at sea – we found this polystyrene package that was addressed from the USA to Costa Rica. That’s a bloody long way from the Galapagos Islands.

We got back from that trip and started talking about doing it for San Cristobal. My friend James Bailey and I founded Sustainable Coastlines in our house over a shot of tequila at ten in the morning. For the next couple of months we had all sectors of society working together – divers, tourists, fishermen, the local council, schools, the tourism association. We picked up 7.5 tonnes of rubbish in half a day. James and I got an award for it from the local council – we turned up at the town hall with jandaled feet and wet shorts and walked into room of 300 people wearing suits!

When I got back to New Zealand I went harvesting kina – it’s basically commercial fishing for sea urchins. That took me out to Great Barrier Island where I saw lots of rubbish off the coast. I raised $45,000 in three weeks to run a clean-up there, which included 200 kids from low-decile schools. Some of them had never been to the beach before. Next we went to the outer islands of Tonga to do the same thing.

I ran Sustainable Coastlines for two and a half years as a volunteer before I started getting paid. We began holding corporate team-building events – that’s how we started making it pay – then we decided to build a fence on top of the cliff rather than being the ambulance at the bottom. We created an educational presentation that tells the story of what happens when plastic goes in the ocean. We got all this anecdotal evidence that it was changing kids’ behaviour, so we started monitoring it and now have a framework to measure behaviour change. We’ve got a big event that runs in Wellington every year – last time we educated nearly 9000 kids, removed 30 cubic metres of rubbish and raised $8000. 

We do a lot of work with Corrections, educating inmates and using their labour for the cause – they get qualifications for it. There are more than 8000 men sitting in prison and more than 17,500 who owe community work service. We know that if you give vocational training to a prisoner they’re 60 to 70 per cent less likely to reoffend. By educating offenders we double the output of what they can achieve in a day. That’s the area of my work that I’m most satisfied by because I see these guys go up on the scale of wellbeing when they get some educational influence. 

Words by Rebekah White. Photography by Pat Shepherd.


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Carol White

Carol White is the director of Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre, an Auckland-based music therapy clinic for children with intellectual and physical disabilities. With a vast range of musical instruments and trained therapists at hand, children can communicate, work together and have fun through sound, in a space that seeks to develop their abilities.

My background is television. I started over 20 years ago at TVNZ – accidentally! I’d been to the UK, came back to make some more money, went in there for a temp admin assignment for six weeks, then they said they were looking for someone permanently. Within a year there was an opportunity to go into the production side of things and help look after the budgets for television programmes. In those days it was called features and documentaries.

I was very career driven and TVNZ in those days was very traditional, you had to be there for years before anything happened, so I jumped and went across to TV3 six weeks before it launched. I went from a very bureaucratic organisation to the total opposite. There was so much freedom to make decisions and huge responsibilities thrown at you.

After TV3 went into receivership and was sold I went to Sky. I remember people saying, “Why would you do that? No one’s going to pay for television.” It had three channels then. I was there for seven or eight years, then I got an opportunity to go and live in Singapore for a couple of years because my husband had work there. I got a job working in an advertising agency and decided I didn’t want a career in advertising!

Back in New Zealand, I ran the Rialto Film Channel for five years. It was good way of bringing all the different skills I’d learned in different jobs into a general manager role. I like being in small environments where you can make things happen quite quickly.

Then I just got bored. I thought, “I’ve done media.” I was going to have a year off and thought I might go and volunteer somewhere. A friend of mine said, “There’s this music therapy centre and they’re looking for a director.” I thought they meant a director on the board of trustees! I went in and met the previous director and she said, “No, it’s my job!” But I left thinking it was exactly what I’d been looking for. I said, “I’ve never worked for a not-for-profit before, but this is what I have done,” and they decided they needed to bring someone from the business community into this sector.

That was two and a half years ago. I thought I’d be done by now! There’s just so much potential for what we could be doing. We don’t get any money from the government – not a cent. We completely fund ourselves, which is a $750,000 a year requirement.

Internationally music therapy is used in so many different ways – they use it in hospitals, for people undergoing chemotherapy, in burns units, for mental health, for eating disorders and depression. Music is such a primal part of who we are as human beings; it’s used in the smallest tribes in the middle of nowhere and in the biggest cities. The heartbeat when you are in the womb is one of the first things that resonates with you. Children who aren’t verbal can certainly tap to a beat. They’ve got rhythm!

Words by Rebekah White. Photography by Pat Shepherd.


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