New community compost & community garden at Newton Central School.

An exciting new composting and community garden is about to have its official opening in December at Newton Central School.

Thanks to the support of the Principal Riki Teteina and the initiative of Doughnut Economics Advocates New Zealand (DEANZ), a ‘Doughnut Hub’ has been established on site at the school. James Watson, Chair of DEANZ who conceived the idea and drove it through, said: “It all started with the seed of an idea nearly two years ago. It is very satisfying to see it coming to fruition”.

The Doughnut Hub consists of two phases – a composting phase and a community garden phase. It is currently in the first phase where food scraps from the local and school community are collected to be composted.

Collection bins are set up outside the school fence on Waima Street, just before the walking / cycling overbridge, so people can drop off their food scraps whenever it suits them.

As well as the surrounding houses and the contributions of the school children and their parents, there is another unique feature of this project. Food scraps are being collected from a highrise residential building because they wanted access to composting. Other food scraps contributors are a local travellers’ hostel, and cafés near the school. If other residential or commercial businesses are interested in participating, they can contact Hannah at

The composting phase began in October, after the installation of four state-of-the-art compost bins produced by The Carbon Cycle Company. DEANZ, with funding from Community Matters (the Lotteries Commission), has been able to hire a part time person to run the Hub to sort through the food scraps, cut them up and add them to the large compost bins. There they become a nitrogen source, that when paired with carbon (things like leaves, bark and coffee grounds), water, and oxygen, create rich compost.

Hannah, the Manager of the Doughnut Hub said: “I had a fun afternoon composting with some of the kids helping me at Newton Central School”.

This is a perfect example of how the Doughnut Hub provides is an opportunity to educate school children about the whole carbon cycle from food scraps to compost to nutritious food, to food scraps again. Both the children and the volunteers who are getting involved also learn about the hot composting process. DEANZ believes initiatives like this foster a sense of community and connection, as well as a greater appreciation for how we can turn our organic waste into a valuable resource. Seeing the compost process from start to finish promotes a shift in thinking, where food scraps are not viewed as waste but rather a beneficial resource to provide nutrients to plants.

Which bring us to the second phase. Once the Doughnut Hub produces enough compost (and one large compost bin has already been turned over), it will be used to create a new community garden. The compost will be used to grow organic vegetables and fruit trees that the school children can enjoy. Any surplus will be sold at reasonable prices to the local community.

The community involvement so far has been delightful and inspiring to see. DEANZ is seeking more community volunteers to participate in the composting process and in preparing and cultivating the community garden. If you would like to get involved, or have any questions, please email Hannah at

The Doughnut Hub represents a regenerative and circular system of food production, which embodies the principles of ‘Doughnut Economics’ set out in the 2017 book by Kate Raworth. Simply put, Doughnut Economics is economics for the twenty first century. It is a model based on sustainability, not on endless growth. The idea is to live within environmental boundaries while meeting essential social needs

The sweet spot is in the shape of a doughnut. Stretch the planet’s resources too far and you fall off the edge of the doughnut. Fail to meet basic social needs like housing, education, health, food and water, and you fall into the hole in the middle of the doughnut. To find out more about Doughnut Economics and DEANZ go to:

DEANZ wishes to express its gratitude to the funding bodies who have provided the resources to bring the Hub to life: The Lottery Grants Board, the Waste Innovation and Minimisation Fund, and the Waitemata Local Board.

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