Urzila's plan to save the world

The world is in crisis. There is political turmoil everywhere, wars, natural disasters. People try to fix the world, they look everywhere and think, where do we start? Maybe if we stop pollution, if we sort out poverty, homelessness or hungry kids, the world will be a better place. However, that is not the answer. The answer is much simpler than that.

The answer is always Oprah Winfrey. She can solve anything. She brings out people’s most vulnerable side. She broke Tom Cruise’s facade. He used to be normal – dare I say, even cool. We all liked him, he could do no wrong. But Oprah knew; Oprah could sense that we were being misled by his cool movie roles. She opened the door and provided the couch and he jumped and we saw and we as a people went, ‘Oooh, no’. Then she gave away cupcakes and everyone in the audience was happy, and she said, ‘Under your seat’ and she gave them washing machines and the world was happy and forgot about the crazy.

That’s what we need more of, a woman that can show us the beauty but not keep the crazy from us. We need truth but with enough good sheets to let us know that the world is rough, but the sheets are soft, and sometimes when everything goes well there might just be some big surprise under your seat.

Now, when I rule the world – not if, because I’ve read enough of Oprah’s books to know I should own it – when I rule the world I will make it compulsory for every human being to watch re-runs of The Oprah Winfrey Show. She sums it up in her own way, with just enough crying, laughing, smiling, singing and being a good friend – all while smelling amazing! I know Oprah cannot save the world from natural disasters, but if we apply her life principles, we will learn to roll with the punches, to live off the land, and that there is no such thing as a pit too dark to come out of, or a ledge too high to climb down from.

Being a good friend means more than having an unlimited supply of money. However, if you could be good friends with Oprah, you could have both – but that’s not what it’s about. I think life in general can be summed up if we live by Gloria Gaynor’s song ‘I will survive’, all the while remembering that no one really survives life.

Illustration by Toby Morris

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Good Stuff

Good Stuff Doing Good Things


Choice is a free, world-first app that shows Kiwis the real time carbon impact of the electricity we’re using. This means, for the first time, we can make a choice about when we use electricity to reduce our environmental impact.


Eat My Lunch. For every lunch purchased, Eat My Lunch also deliver another freshly made lunch to a Kiwi kid in need. While charities like Garden to Table help with the current and long term food literacy of Kiwi kids, these guys are running a wonderful social enterprise which feeds your belly and feeds hungry kids who need to eat, today! We think that’s pretty darn awesome!


FRANK Stationery creates notebooks, journals and diaries. FRANK is set up to support communities in need by donating notebooks to children in schools. For every book you buy, they give a school book to a child in need.


Do Good Jobs is about connecting great people, to do good. They connect passionate, talented people (a.k.a Do-Gooders) with work vacancies that aim to do good and create social and environmental change.


Loyal Workshop is a Kiwi-owned ethical leather company based in Kolkata, India. It exists to provide employment alternatives to fight human trafficking, and to create beautiful hand-stitched leather bags, satchels and other goods.


Garden to Table need your help! They have a new fundraising tea towel that will raise funds to help improve the food literacy of NZ children through growing, harvesting, cooking and sharing fresh, seasonal food. View the two designs at…


Almighty Juices are a proudly NZ owned and operated organic juice company. They’re on a mission to help put veggie gardens in schools and to teach kids how to cook with fresh produce. We are super excited that they donate a portion of their profits to Garden to Table and Common Unity Project in order to make this happen. Legends!


John Oliver is inspiring millions of people around the world to stand up to insane laws and actions that are being taken by those who simply don’t give a shit about others. Described by Donald Drumpf as ‘Very Boring’, John Oliver is anything but. This is a man on a mission to make the world a better place and for that, we salute you, Mr Oliver!

View it on YouTube


Good Books is an online store that passes 100% of the e-tail profit directly to fund charitable projects in partnership with Oxfam. We love books and think that if you’re going to buy, then why not do it from a site that supports amazing international development projects? Above are a few of our most inspiring reads, some of which are available at Good Books, enjoy!


Sarah Longbottom

Sarah Longbottom is an ideas machine – and she feeds a fair share of them into Nga Rangatahi Toa, an organisation she founded and now directs. It’s an alternative form of ngagement and transition that supports marginalised youth – often those expelled from public schools – through creativity, arts and aroha. With an assortment of awe-inspiring mentors and refreshingly hands-on modes of learning, Sarah has created a safety net for young people.

I grew up in Governors Bay, on Banks Peninsula, just outside of Christchurch. It was a truly amazing place to grow up. Me and my bro, Richie, ran riot together. Days were filled building forts, exploring the coastline, visiting the beautifully generous Margaret Mahy and our other favourite neighbours. We were totally blessed, fully engaged, constantly learning.

My family has always been active in the community­­ – it’s just part of who we are. My granddad mentored men in prison and my grandma got heaps of community awards for her volunteer work. From when I could walk, my bro and I were out doing street appeals, and our fam was heavily involved in the Halt All Racist Tours protest group and the nuclear-free peace movements. When I was 11 we started volunteering at the Christchurch City Mission, mainly at Christmas time. I coordinated the lead-up and the event on the day, and I have only missed two years in the last 29!

When I was working in alternative education in South Auckland, I saw a lack of creative arts access for kids who had been kicked out of school. I thought that was ridiculous, so I took action and established Nga Rangatahi Toa. That’s how this all started.

I believe in human capacity with a whole heart. The mahi we do at Nga Rangatahi Toa is transformational for all involved. Kids have found their peace and mothers have found pride. Mentors have been reminded of what really matters, and have had their own artistic practise impacted through the catharsis of our projects.

One of our kids was particularly challenging in his behaviours and  attitude. When he came to us he began working on a piece with his mentor, Pana Hema-Taylor, that required him to write out his whakapapa. Pana was transcribing it and wrote down one of the words with a particular iwi spelling. The young person was unsure of the spelling to use, but the next day he reported back that he had spoken to his grandma. They had chatted about his whakapapa and she had given him the right spelling for his iwi. On the face of it, it may not seem like much, but in this situation it was massive!

Our projects gives kids the reason, the opportunity, and most importantly the belief in themselves to have those kinds of positive, important interactions with loved ones that are a world away from their ‘hood life’.

Some challenges arise, such as resisting the urge to go where the money is and knowing when to make the hard calls on those involved in the organisation. They can come with strings and restraints, so the hard road is often the best road. Hard calls have gotta be made when adults are not well enough in themselves to do the challenging work, and with kids who need support beyond what we can give.

Nga Rangatahi Toa is something I have grown, but now it has a life of its own. It’s been an interesting process to get to this position, to be able to objectively look at it. As I change and refine as a human, so too does the organisation. In this regard, it is a mirror to ensure I walk my talk. Nga Rangatahi Toa is a gift that has made me more myself.

The future of Nga Rangatahi Toa is the future of education in Aotearoa. We have worked with alternative education kids for six years now – after school and in the holidays. Next year we will open an alternative education classroom, and flowing from that, we will open a school. We hope that in the future we can impact the education system as a whole.

I have exceptionally high expectations of myself and my inexhaustible capacity for work and for living this life. The whole thing is what gets me up in the morning – I love the entire process, from start to finish. That’s what I really love. Knowing that I can really, really make shit happen.

He aha te mea nui? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. What is the most important thing? It is people, it is people, it is people.

Words by Larissa McMillan. Photography by Tobias Kraus.


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Neil O'Styke

There’s no problem too small for Neil O’Styke – self-confessed jack of all trades. As Executive Director of The Neonatal Trust, he helps to provide a precious service for people both big and very, very small. The Trust supports families with sick or premature babies by providing services in intensive care units nationwide. With over 1,000 babies coming through the Wellington unit in 2014 alone, Neil lets us in on why he got involved.

I volunteered at The Soup Kitchen in Wellington for a number of years from my early 20s. It was a great experience helping people and I met a lot of like-minded volunteers. It taught me a lot about observing, listening and that it’s the small things that matter.

I decided to quit my last corporate job three days after my daughter, Penny, was born. I recall waking up early, with Penny a drive away in hospital; I thought it was time to do something different, something with more flexibility to spend time with my kids.

For any expectant parent, the best-laid plans don’t always happen. Having a baby early or having one with complications can happen to anyone. Age, income, job – it doesn’t matter, it can impact you. There is such stress and anxiety involved. I often hear people downplay that they were only in the Unit for a week, when at the time it was the longest week of their life. It’s far from what they were expecting and hoping for. We also get parents of extremely premature babies who have 100-day plus stays in hospital before going home for the first time. They truly experience a rollercoaster ride while they’re in there.

I really love working in the social-profit space. It’s a fantastic way to teach values to my kids. Without going over the top with them, we make it a regular topic of conversation at home. We’ll pause the news if there is a story on a natural disaster, or a family doing it tough, and have a quick chat about it.

If there is a mufti day at school, we’ll talk about what they are collecting money for and how it will help. We often share about how lucky we are as a family. My wife and I decided to take a particular approach with pocket money too. We help our seven-year-old manage his own pocket money, which has an element of philanthropic giving. It’s pretty cool to see him think about others.

Fundraising is a very competitive space and it’s important to have a range of approaches. We love ones that give back to our partner charity and remind people what great supporters of the community they are – like the annual World of Wearable Art dress rehearsal show, which is always a massive hit.

The One Percent Collective model of raising awareness and facilitating continual giving is perfect for a charity our size – as this type of support enables us to free up time and focus our efforts on the thing that matters most: supporting those going through the stress of a neonatal journey, one Kiwi family at a time.

Words by Larissa McMillan. Photography by Pat Shepherd.


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Stephanie McIntyre

This modern-day warrior stands at five-foot something, wears a fluffy purple scarf and has just finished her Masters. Stephanie McIntyre fights the good fight, directing the homelessness service DCM in Wellington. A long-time champion of disadvantaged groups, she has touched and transformed lives, as well as the organisation dedicated to helping them.

In my childhood we always had a little cardboard box that we put money into for the ‘poor children in Africa’ or the Leprosy Mission, although I doubt I had any idea what that meant. Running little fundraising stalls for our current cause was part of everyday life. While the patronising descriptions make me cringe now, it encouraged me to get into a habit of giving.

I was born and raised in the Hutt Valley into the cocooning myth of equality and racial harmony. We thought Aotearoa New Zealand had the best race relations in the world. But the Hunn Report released in the 1960s described a New Zealand that was far from equal. I didn’t realise it then, but it was a time when New Zealand policy pushed Maori and Pacific people into assimilation – into a very Europeanised way of life.

I’ve lived in the southern Wellington suburb of Berhampore for more than 20 years. I remember when I chaired the local school board at the inception of the educational reform programme, Tomorrow’s Schools; I was the only board member who spoke English as my first language. Most of the others were born in various Pacific Islands. Over the time I’ve lived here, I’ve watched Berhampore change and become more gentrified.

I first came alive to the issue of homelessness when I was in Boston for three months in 2000. The little graduate school where I was staying hosted women from a local shelter to experience the respite of staying overnight in a lovely apartment, which was kept vacant for that purpose. I joined the roster to be a host. Every Sunday I went to a simple gathering of homeless people on the Boston Common where Debbie, a diminutive Episcopal priest, held a communion service.

On St Francis’s Day, the patron saint of animals, Debbie invited the participants to tell stories of their pets. One woman had two toy dogs peeping out of the shopping trolley that contained all her possessions for her life on the street. Another had old photos that he carried with him. It really sparked my motivation to come back to Wellington and turn my attention to homelessness here.

My role at DCM is to make sure that it is a well-functioning organisation right now in the present, but also guide it into the future. Part of my role is about reading the future, picking up what’s coming towards us and creating an environment where, together, we can figure out how to ride the buffeting waves of change.

What is important is that we know who we  are and what we want to be. For us that means being the kind of organisation that vulnerable and marginalised people feel genuinely comfortable coming to. A place where they feel welcome and safe and they can thrive.

Photography and words by Larissa McMillan.


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Kathryn Ryan

Kathryn Ryan is one of the glittering jewels in New Zealand’s media crown. Formidably smart she conducts no-holds-barred interviews every weekday morning on her Radio New Zealand show, Nine to Noon. An Otago girl from way back, now in Wellington, and always making the most of the great outdoors all over NZ, we chat to Kathryn about what inspires her.

What’s happening in the world of Kathryn Ryan for 2016? Learning, working. Navigating the big changes that are happening in the media world, with all their challenges and opportunities. Spending weekends in the outdoors, sea, or mountains, and blissing out on the beauty of this place. Enjoying friends and family and supporting their adventures and endeavours. Trying to keep fit, cooking, reading – not all of these complement each other!

Describe the most generous person you know. How have they influenced you? Each and every one of the people who shares their stories, their knowledge, their highs, their lows, their disappointments, their successes, their failures, their joys, and their losses on Nine to Noon. This generous spirit of making yourself vulnerable – because someone else may hear something that changes their life, or illuminates what they're going through, makes them feel less alone, or encourages them to try something, or make a change. It is humbling to be part of that, and I never cease to be amazed at the trust, wisdom, and goodness of the thousands of people to put themselves out there and do it. Also, the kind of people who generously share their homes, their families, and their lives, without reservation. My life is full of them to a ridiculously undeserved degree.

Can you name an everyday action that makes the world a better place, yet is underrated? Kindness. Making the effort to look for and say something positive about someone. Not faked or forced – it's not hard to find these things. The small, subtle interactions that build someone up or change the way they are thinking or feeling; enough of it can change destinies, and it's contagious.

Can you tell us three stories that inspire you and why? Philosophically, the writing of Dame Jane Goodall and Peter Singer. Both forever changed the way I think about the rights of animals, and our responsibilities as a dominant species to not misuse the intellectual superiority we have to abuse and exploit other species egregiously. We've done nothing but pay a price for doing so, but more fundamentally, what right do we have to do so? Dame Jane's brilliantly lived life, including her worldwide work encouraging youth to action, and Peter's latest book on giving, and our ethical and moral imperative to give as much as we can, have added further layers of challenge! Also, the late Sir Paul Callaghan, who modelled brilliantly how to lead public discourse and debate in a way that never threatened, or intimidated, or antagonised people. He was without arrogance, encouraged participation, and made everyone feel welcome and worthy of it. He was an astounding role model for effective influence.

Secondly – great photography, art, and journalism. I love the style of ‘New Journalism' – which is now getting pretty old! I'll name two more recent books: Christopher McDougall's Born to Run, and Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air, which combine my fascination with human physical and mental endeavour, with the environment, and fantastic journalistic writing.

The last thing is a real-life story that's unfolding right now. The activities of a whole generation of young, smart and inspiring business and social entrepreneurs, mostly in their 20s and 30s, in New Zealand and overseas. Many of whom are using new technology and new media to lead the way in redefining entrepreneurial endeavours. They knock me sideways with their calibre and their energy and give me hope we can, and will, fix a good few things that need fixing – and they're lots of fun to be around!

Photography by Pat Shepherd.

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Kate Tindall Lum

Kate Tindall Lum learned from some of the best by working for The Tindall Foundation, which her parents founded in 1994 and which last year celebrated 20 years of giving to more than 5000 organisations around New Zealand. A trained designer, Kate now specialises in figuring out how to effectively give away funding to reduce social issues, from youth to the homeless.

What’s happening in the world of Kate Tindall Lum for 2016? I’m currently undertaking a secondment at the Vodafone NZ Foundation running the World of Difference and Fellowship funding processes. Both programmes support Kiwis who are committed to supporting our young people, aged 12-24, into meaningful learning. I’m also looking after the Foundation’s communications. I’m really enjoying the work; feeling lucky that I have such a fulfilling job and getting to know my new work pals!

Describe the most generous person you know. How have they influenced you? My mother, Margaret (Marg). She is the kindest, most selfless person I know. My mum loves people, so giving of herself and her kindness is innate. She really listens to people and is genuinely interested in every person she meets. I admire Marg for caring so much about people, and being so natural with them. I want to be kind like her.

Can you name an everyday action that makes the world a better place, yet is underrated? A smile from a stranger.

Can you tell us three things that inspire you and why? Documentaries about space, and anything by David Attenborough. The complexities, scale and beauty of nature and the universe blow my mind and make me feel connected to the world. I like thinking about how we live on a planet that is just one extremely tiny speck in the universe.

Paintings by Mark Rothko and Milton Avery. Their paintings excite and motivate me. I love the way the paint seems to hover.

People who work for themselves on what they love, such as Eddy Royal and Jade Tang-Taylor of Curative, a creative agency that works with social and environmental organisations. And my friend, Chelsea Nikkel, a.k.a. Princess Chelsea. She writes fantastical, beautiful music from her own home and tours the world playing it to others. I think we should all be encouraged to do what we love.

Photography by Kaan Hiini.

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The Art Of Storytelling

Jo Randerson is the artistic director of Wellington counter-culture theatre company Barbarian Productions, which has produced works such as Brides, an installation of audience views on marriage equality, and Political Cuts, a ‘salon’ of discussion about the 2014 general election. Max Rashbrooke is a journalist and author who has written extensively on inequality and edited the top-selling book Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis. Jo and Max got together for The Generosity Journal to discuss their experiences within the delicate art and craft of storytelling.

Jo Randerson: I guess we’re both trying to tell stories about inequality, justice, those kinds of issues – but it’s not straightforward, is it?

Max Rashbrooke: Well, no. Telling stories is both at the heart of what I do – 90 percent of journalism really is just telling people’s stories – but it’s also the most challenging thing to do well. When someone is sharing their story with you, but it ends up getting used in a bigger piece of writing, it’s very easy to impose your own narrative on their story, to use it in ways that maybe they didn’t anticipate. And I think the average person, going into an encounter with a journalist, has almost no idea what’s going to happen, so there are really big ethical issues that come up around that.

JR: And are people happy to share their stories with you?

MR: Not always, no. I remember one group of people in Porirua East who said, ‘Actually, we’re a bit sick of being studied, everyone comes and asks us what’s it like living in a low-income community, and it’s a bit intrusive.’ And you can see why they would feel like that. But most of the time it’s a fascinating process, because I’m a relatively private person myself, and I’m aware of how intrusive this work is. I’m asking people very personal questions – ‘How much do you earn, how poor are you, tell me more about the terrible things that have happened to you in your life?’ So, a part of me is always surprised that people will talk to me.

But what I always have to remember, and what is deeply true, is that people can find it incredibly empowering, because very often nobody has ever asked them for their stories. And what do we have that is more important than our stories? Our stories are ourselves. So it can be really fulfilling. In a way, the interview process is me saying to these people, ‘I value your lives – and so will other people’.

The thing about the interview process, though, is that it’s not always very subtle. Whereas art has a lot more indirect ways to get people to reveal things, I think.

JR: My mum always says that, when I was a teenager, if she asked me to tell her something face-to-face, I wouldn’t answer her, but if we were driving in the car together, because we weren’t looking at each other, I would just tell her all of this stuff that was going on. In other words, an indirect way can be a really powerful way to get at what is happening with someone. And so I’m very interested in using theatrical techniques to help people reveal things without them having to feel like they are “telling a story”. It’s like a parallel path to what you’re doing in journalism, but really grounded in the arts. And it’s inspired in part by that idea that art helps you reveal the truth that you don’t know you know.

MR: Which I think is absolutely true – but how do you help people bring to the light those things that they didn’t know they knew?

JR: With something like Brides, what we did was  get people to put on a wedding dress, as a way to start to unpack what they think about marriage equality without directly asking them. A lot of it is about theatrical skills, thinking about what the visual appeal for people is going to be. Brides was set up like a gallery installation, so people would see these dresses but, hopefully, quite quickly see other people in the shop and realise it wasn’t a normal bridal shop. And their curiosity then drew them in.

It’s also about finding the right questions to ask. Partnering with ChangeMakers Refugee Forum recently, they approached us with a group of passionate young people from refugee backgrounds who wanted to do an art project. Together we figured out we wanted to ask a question that would provoke interesting, unconventional responses, and we talked a lot around what that question should be. And people talked a lot about the phrase, ‘Where do you come from?’ as a predictable and patronising question, and the group talked about alternatives, such as ‘Where would you like to be?’ But what we ended up with was, ‘What makes you happy?’ – which seems quite general and vague, but in that context was a really accessible question to ask. And it drew out some really beautiful, poetic stories of simple things like families being happy together, or ‘a smile’.

MR: So it’s about asking the right questions – but also it’s about opening up spaces where people feel comfortable saying a range of things, right?

JR: Yes – like with Political Cuts, where some of the MPs that came along to the salon said to us, ‘Thank you for having an open space – normally, all the scenarios we go into are very oppositional, it’s all, “We speak, you attack, we defend.” ’ Which is also what it’s like in Parliament. And for us, Barbarian Productions, in general we really try to ensure that we are not about opposition, we are about dialogue. What we find is that when you set up that space properly, in a way that makes it clear you want dialogue, you actually have less hostility, because you haven’t created the environment for that.

MR: I find that, too, in journalism – that if you set up the space right, in the sense of you make it clear why you want to talk to someone, you’re open and honest about the nature of the project, then it’s amazing what people will share with you.

I often go into these projects thinking, ‘Why on earth are people sharing this information?’ For Inequality, we had someone who shared her entire weekly budget with me as a way of showing that the problems people face are not because they can’t budget, it’s simply that they don’t have enough income. So we went through her whole budget, we printed it all in a book – and it’s so personal! I’m amazed by the generosity. They are making a gift of their own personal information, their deepest stories, and are sharing it with me and trusting me to accurately represent it to the world. But I guess that, as with the best relationships of any kind, it’s a gift exchange. They are gifting me their story, and in return I am giving them a voice that they wouldn’t otherwise have. And it’s that honest exchange that is at the heart of what I’m trying to do.

JR: And providing a platform for people’s expression is really exciting. I still like writing, and authoring plays in the more traditional sense – but it’s equally exciting to create platforms for other people to say something. That kind of empowerment where people tell their own stories, especially less-heard voices, is pretty exciting. Bringing people out of their normal, everyday zone, seeing people engaging with people they don’t normally engage with, that’s also a huge driver for me. When I see all of that happening together, I feel very, very happy. I’d like to keep working that way.

Image by Sam LaHood.


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Heart And Sole

Blake Mycoskie single-handedly popularised the ‘one for one’ giving model. These days, his business card reads ‘Chief Shoe Giver’, and he spends his time figuring out how else he can mobilise the power of his multinational brand, TOMS, to help out.

The distinctive blue-and-white logo on the back of TOMS shoes is based on the stripes of the flag of Argentina, because that’s where it all began. Travelling there in 2006, Blake Mycoskie, then 29, immersed himself in the culture – playing polo, dancing the tango, drinking malbec and adopting the local canvas shoe, the alpargata. He liked alpargatas so much that he wondered fleetingly if the lightweight slip-ons would have market appeal in the United States, his home country.

On his travels he encountered a couple of American volunteers who were distributing donated shoes, and they pointed out what a pair of shoes could accomplish: allow kids to attend school, play outside safely, protect them from cuts, blisters and soil-transmitted diseases. But the supply of donated shoes was irregular and unreliable. Mycoskie wondered if the solution lay not in the world of charity, but in the one he knew so well: entrepreneurship. He was in Argentina taking a break from the demands of running his fourth start-up, and he started turning over the idea in his mind: what if people could easily buy a pair of shoes for someone else – by buying a pair for themselves? “Something about the idea felt so right, even though I had no experience, or even connections, in the shoes business,” he wrote in his autobiography, Start Something that Matters. “I did have one thing that came to me almost immediately: a name for my new company. I called it TOMS. I’d been playing around with the phrase Shoes for a Better Tomorrow, which eventually became Tomorrow’s Shoes, then TOMS.”

Back in California, Mycoskie recounted the story to a few of his friends who gave him ideas for stores that might be interested in selling such shoes. “You don’t always need to talk with experts; sometimes the consumer, who just might be a friend or acquaintance, is your best consultant,” he says.

One weekend, Mycoskie visited one of the shops his friends had recommended, meeting the shoe buyer – a woman who judged countless brands for inclusion in the store. “From the beginning, she realised that TOMS was more than just a shoe,” says Mycoskie. “It was a story. And she knew she could sell both of them.”

The next person to hear the story was a Los Angeles Times journalist, who splashed it on the front page of the newspaper’s style section – prompting orders for 2,200 pairs. (Mycoskie had just 160 in a room of his apartment.) That was when Vogue called. In the end, TOMS sold – and subsequently donated – 10,000 pairs of shoes in its first six months of operation. Ralph Lauren offered to design a pair, his first brand collaboration in 40 years, and the American phone network AT&T made a television advertisement featuring one of the TOMS shoe drops in Uruguay. The story had won everyone over.

Since then, TOMS has distributed more than 35 million pairs of shoes to children around the world – and to give that number some scale, it’s about nine pairs for every New Zealander. In 2011, Mycoskie started adding other ‘one for one’ products. Buy sunglasses, give restored sight. Buy coffee beans, give access to safe water.

“Our mission is very simple,” Mycoskie tells The Generosity Journal. “It’s to use business to improve lives.” Not just the lives of the people TOMS serves, but its customers, employees and suppliers, too. The chain should benefit everyone who takes part in it, says Mycoskie. “That’s our first responsibility, our real responsibility,” he says. “We love seeing other brands with similar business models. We actually launched the TOMS Marketplace a couple years ago where we highlight and sell various products from socially conscious brands, like Krochet Kids, stone + cloth, and HALF UNITED. It would be great to see more and more businesses and social entrepreneurs get started with the ‘one for one’ business model.”

Mycoskie announced in 2014 that TOMS would launch a new ‘one for one’ product every year. The TOMS Roasting Company, which kicked off in 2014, offers direct-trade coffee to consumers and donates safe water access; earlier this year, the TOMS Bag Collection was established to distribute birth kits and train birth attendants. Mycoskie is a well of ideas, and given his list of hobbies it sounds like he just doesn’t stop – he’s an avid snowboarder, sailor and golfer, among other outdoor pursuits. “Some of my best ideas come when I’m away from the office and doing something active,” he says. “When I run, I can let my mind wander and I actually come up with a lot of ideas.”

As well as his friends, Mycoskie says he turns to his family when he needs advice. “I really admire my father. He taught me to be persistent, hardworking and to continue developing into a man of character and integrity.”

Although now, at 39, Mycoskie can start dishing out advice himself. He says it’s important for young entrepreneurs to remember that they’re at an advantage rather than a disadvantage. “People, especially other business people, are excited about young entrepreneurs. They kind of see themselves in you, so it’s a great opportunity to get mentorship. It’s also a great idea to get your foot in the door. They see you as a young, driven entrepreneur and so they give you a chance.”

That’s why, says Mycoskie, he dropped out of university and started a business – his first company, a laundry service, launched when he was 18. “If I was trying to get my foot in the door today, people would just see me as another entrepreneur or business guy.”

Nowadays, what gets him out of bed in the morning? “Knowing that I have the joy and privilege of helping and inspiring people; from the communities that we give in, to the people who come to work at TOMS each day and hopefully to the young generation of budding entrepreneurs who can see that it is possible to merge your passion with business and be successful. It’s pretty incredible what this movement has grown from its humble beginnings and I feel grateful every day that I get to call this my job. I love what I do, and I’m absolutely inspired by the people I work with, the people I meet and the places I am privileged to travel to.”

Words by Rebekah White.

Visit and grab a pair of TOMS to put shoes on the feet of a child in need.

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Jamie McDell

Early in 2012 Jamie McDell became a hit among New Zealand pop fans with her debut single “You’ll Never Take That Away”. Now, four years on, Jamie has finished her graphic design degree, released a second album Ask Me Anything and is spending time inspiring others through her music and social media presence. A coast-loving, outdoors junkie, Jamie filled us in on her personal inspirations and aspirations, what’s in the pipeline, and how she thinks music can spark more generosity in the world.

Tell us a bit about you! You grew up in Mangawhai, right? How do you think that helped shape the person you are today? I’m lucky Mangawhai is eventually where my parents decided to settle but that was after a few years of different adventures! Our first started when I was seven and Dad decided it was time to pack up, live on a yacht and sail around the Mediterranean. Living on a yacht is not your usual upbringing but probably what really shaped how I see life today. My sister and I both have a strong appreciation for the outdoors and the simpler things in life. Living on a boat taught us to be adaptable to many situations and I think gave us open minds at a young age.

Some have compared you to Jewel and Taylor Swift – how do you feel about that? Do you have any musical idols, someone who inspires you to be a better person?

As much as musicians usually find it frustrating to be compared to another I find these comparisons extremely flattering. I hope they’re not just because I’m blonde and play the guitar, I would love to think it’s got something to do with my songwriting ability! But if not, that’s okay too, I’m also proud to be blonde.

Usually a musician will inspire me by what they use their music for rather than the actual music itself. For example, Jack Johnson has always been a real legend to me in the way he uses his platform to promote the protection of our environment. I'm a big  fan of country music and I think that’s mainly because I enjoy listening to good storytellers. I’ve said before that I think my best work will come when I’m around 40 years old, once I’ve had some solid lifetime to sing about.

You’re an avid supporter of one of our partner charities, Sustainable Coastlines, how did you  get involved with the team there? Sustainable Coastlines have done such an amazing job at being a familiar name amongst the New Zealand community. Because my music is often ocean themed I was a good fit for one of their charity balls, so that was my first event with the team. Later (2015) I was invited on a trip to Australia to help discuss the issue of plastic pollution alongside other Contiki Storytellers and Surfrider. We did beach clean-ups and experienced first-hand the devastating affects; I’d always been aware of the harm single-use plastic had but it really hits you when you’re there picking it up off the place that has brought your life so much joy. When I got back to New Zealand I wanted to invite some of my fans along to a beach clean-up and that’s where Sustainable Coastlines came in and helped to make it happen. I find their whole team so inspirational.

You have really embraced the power of social media to make a difference environmentally. That’s awesome! I do really love social media and the freedom it gives you to discuss anything. My intentions behind a lot of my content is to inspire young people to get outdoors and experience things like surfing and diving etc. My want to protect the ocean comes from the amazing adventures it has given me throughout my life so my theory is, if I can share those experiences with others then maybe they’ll develop their own passion for protecting it. When people feel their own sense of responsibility, without being told they should care, they care because it becomes part of who they are.

So, what’s next? What’s happening in the world of Jamie McDell for 2016 and on? I’m always creating new music, but at the moment I’m working on a project that is a little different! I’ve started writing songs with my sister, Tess, which we’ll be releasing throughout this year as a duo called Dunes. It’s been really refreshing working with Tess, she’s got a few different perspectives on things and it’s really nice to be able to bounce ideas off each other. I’m also hoping to start some initiatives that will give people alternatives to using plastic bags – I’m at the beginning stages, but keep an eye out, I guess!

Why do you think that music inspires us? That’s actually a hard question as often, as a writer, I find we inspire the music. Topics that are being discussed in today’s music are stories of what is going on around us and in our communities. Luckily a lot of those stories revolve around change and becoming more comfortable with being yourself, so I think we’re being encouraged to be more creative and confident in sharing our thoughts and opinions.

And, last but not least, how do you think that music can, and is, sparking more generosity in the world? The greatest thing about music is that it brings people together. We are all starting to realise that the more we work together and understand each other’s needs and wants, the better and more effective our chance is of truly making a difference that works for everyone.

We would love to hear why music inspires you and how you think music can, and is, sparking more generosity in the world? Share your thoughts with us at

Words by Jd Nodder. Photography by Jordan Stent.

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Ray Avery

I personally believe that what makes us human is that we give a shit. Unlike much of the animal kingdom, humans nurture and care for the sick, the old and the lame. We take care of each other and, just as importantly, when someone does give a shit and acts accordingly, they inspire us to make the world a little better.

Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst chained herself to the railings of government buildings and was jailed for demanding the right for women to vote. She gave a shit and made the world a more egalitarian place.

On June 5, 1989, the 19-year-old student Wang Weilin stood in front of a column of tanks in Tiananmen Square, bringing them to a halt. Wang focused worldwide attention on the Chinese military’s violent crackdown on protesters, and demonstrated that one person who gives a shit can change the world.

People such as Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi and Nelson Mandela exemplify speaking out against injustice and inequality. They represent the best that we can be as a species.

What happens when we don’t give a shit? When we don’t recognise and respect the needs and opinions of others, and don’t speak up against injustice and prejudice, things can go very, very wrong, whether it be kids subjected to family violence and abuse, or Hitler’s “Final Solution”. When people don’t speak up or act against injustice, they abrogate their responsibilities as humans and the consequences are often fatal.

We live in an unequal world. For example, 90 percent of global health care is spent on 10 percent of the world’s population, who live in developed countries. That’s us. We have developed a plethora of medical products and procedures to take care of all our needs and whims, from essential medicines to Viagra, anti-ageing products and face-lifts.

Meanwhile, those in the developing world bear the greatest burden of disease and lack access to the most basic clinical care. Malnutrition is a major problem in developing countries, and the incidence of premature babies is very high, due to poor nutrition and underlying diarrheal diseases. Many premature babies weigh less than one kilogram, and can fit neatly into the palm of your hand. However, without timely clinical intervention, most of these babies will die before they have had a start at life.

This is where a dream of mine comes in. The team at Medicine Mondiale, a development agency that I founded, has developed a low-cost infant incubator that is designed to work in the challenging and hostile environments found in developing countries.

The Mondiale Lifepod Incubator costs just $2,000 and in its guaranteed lifespan will save the lives of at least 500 babies. Medicine Mondiale has an audacious dream to get the lifesaving Lifepod into thousands of hospitals around the world.

It’s a big task, but those that are crazy enough to believe that they can change the world are the ones that do. We give a shit, we find other people that do, and together we make a difference and challenge others to dream big.

You can support the work of Medicine Mondiale with regular donations through One Percent Collective at

Portrait Photography by Pat Shepherd.

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The Generosity Journey

Little things connect us as human beings, little things that we don’t always notice. Like our love of a good hero story.

Think of all the millions of dollars we spend on games and movies and TV shows that follow the exact same path and are filled with the same archetypical characters. It’s ingrained; we love seeing the Little Hero overcome the Big Bad. There’s a little bit of hero in all of us.

But there’s one thing we don’t always realise about this universal Hero’s Journey – it’s a story about giving, and that makes it a journey anyone can follow. With a little bit of generosity, we can all be heroes.

Don’t believe me? Let’s go on a journey and see who we meet...

HERO. In the story they’re a farm boy, or a servant girl, or an orphan, but in the real world they’re you. They get to be The Hero by giving away their past path, the easy path, to serve a greater good. Being The Hero is a circular journey; it starts at you and spirals ever outward to touch more and more people.

FAITHFUL FRIEND. Sometimes they’re the comic relief, sometimes they’re the one who keeps you standing no matter what comes your way. But the Faithful Friend is always there. ALWAYS. They are the person who, when The Hero is ready to step up and change the world, says 'Cool, how can I help?'

INNOCENT. You only get to be The Hero by saving, protecting, or giving yourself to The Innocent. In a story it’s the child from a prophecy, or a beautiful prince/ss, or a vulnerable group of villagers. They give something special to The Hero: inspiration, hope, and a reason to carry on. In the real world, The Innocent is anyone who desperately needs someone to give a shit. And sadly, they’re not hard to find.

MENTOR. The old hermit. The great warrior. The mysterious wise one. In the real world, The Mentor comes in a million disguises. Your kids. A poet on the street. A woman on a podcast. The Mentor is the one who gives of their knowledge to set The Hero on the right path.

TRICKSTER. The smart-arse hustler. The good-looking troublemaker. The wise-cracking sidekick. The Trickster’s that person you know who has more to give than anybody, but refuses to believe it. They’re the big gun pointed at the wrong target, the perfect voice fronting the wrong band, waiting for you to give them the right directions. The trick is to trick THEM – they’ll be giving before they know it.

VILLAIN. Every story needs a bad guy. The evil overlord. The terrible demon. The cruel tyrant. The legendary killer. Real life villains are laughable in their smallness, but insidious in their influence. They’re the snide reality show host. The politician who’s more worried about their connections than their portfolio. The tight-fisted manager. The self-absorbed knocker. The loud opinionator. But like any good story, you don’t get to find out everything about The Villain until we’re nearly at the end of our journey.


This is a Call.

These archetypal characters who populate so many of our myths, movies, games and binge-worthy TV shows resonate with us because they trigger some deep, hidden understanding of what it means to be human.

We all enter the great forest of life at one end, follow the twisting, turning paths through it, and eventually emerge on the other side. We don’t all encounter the same things along the way, but patterns and events and echoes exist that, if we listen hard enough, are there to lead us down the better paths. If you’re hearing the call, however faintly, to step up and be more generous with the world, here’s something to consider.

Remember how I said you don’t get to know everything about The Villain until the end? Well, here’s their secret. The Hero gives. The Mentor gives. The Innocent gives. Even The Trickster learns to give. But The Villain? They never give. They only take.

We all go to the movies and boo the bad guy. We all love finishing the boss level and taking down the BBEG. None of us side with The Villain. None of us applaud their selfishness. It’s because of our innate human nature: we know it’s wrong to care only for yourself. It’s human to give and we’re all born to be generous; we’re all born to be The Hero.

So why, in our real world, do we allow selfishness to win? Why don’t we make the choices that allow us to resist it? Time to step up, Hero! Generosity is calling.

The End.

No… This is Just The Beginning!

Illustrations by Natasha Vermeulen. Words by Mark Easterbrook. With thanks to Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell

Join One Percent Collective and give your 1% to any number of our six partner charities or pick YOUR favourite charity and go start giving your 1% on the regular.

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Sean Duffell

The Generosity Journal’s cover is created by Sean Duffell –­ a graphic artist whose work takes him to bare walls across Wellington and the world. His captivating style spans illustration, paint and graffiti, saturated in colour, rhythmic with pattern and exploding with character.

Pretty sure I was listening to an Alan Watts talk while drawing a few months back, where he asked a group of people to picture a flower in their mind and then describe the image back to him.

All of the subjects pictured a similar image, which was based on a single flower. Alan asked them if they had thought further than just that one flower; considering its surroundings and the environment it existed in. No one had or did. He went on to say that ideally we would all think of how that flower co­exists within an environment consisting of a whole field of flowers that shared the same soil and the same air. That without those other flowers that particular single flower wouldn’t and couldn’t even exist. This in turn was a metaphor for a philosophical discussion about oneself and how we perceive our environment, community and our social connections. No matter who we are, where we came from, what beliefs we have, we are all connected through our environment.

Personally, when I paint in public spaces one of the most enjoyable activities of the process is engaging with a wide range of people who all share the same environment. I get to talk to a vast array of people from different backgrounds and feel inspired by these engagements. I get to feel a part of that area and community if I’m not a local.

My idea was to paint in my usual media – aerosol paint – on a wall and paint something that highlights these connections, but also highlights the diversity of each individual element that completes the whole. The wall was completed entirely by freehand (no stencils or masking tape) over the course of four days between Wellington wind, rain and a bout of food poisoning.  


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