Sunday, February 13, 2011

So, as most of you will know, this wee project finished on Waitangi Day. I have spent the last week trying to think of the right thing to say, something along the lines of "yay for NZ made" but to tell the truth, I am almost relieved the year is over. I spent the last few weeks dreaming of all the foreign made things I could soon buy which felt almost like cheating and I considered giving up early.

I spent the year going without so many everyday things like gum, lighters and sunscreen, most of the NZ made things I did buy caused massive financial strain. Thankfully I had friends and family that took pity on me and bought me things like gum, bananas and razors for my birthday and Christmas though I guess this is almost cheating too, though I didn't actually buy the products.

When I went to Aussie I decided I would buy Aussie made, as well as New Zealand made. I figured I wouldn't find too many NZ made things and thought it would make a good comparison, seeing how well I could live off Australian made products. Turns out it is very easy to live off Aussie made products - from the supermarket at least, funds were a little too low to buy much else! Everything we bought at the supermarkets, without even trying, was Australian made even dried pasta! Because we were on such a tight budget we pretty much only bought stuff that was on special but like I said above, it was all Aussie made. A lot of New Zealand made products seem to be the more expensive ones on our shelves but over there, the cheapest options were usually the Aussie made ones. I realise their country is a lot bigger, as with their population, so they can support larger locally made/produced industries, I guess that is the difference between our two countries.

Though this year has introduced me to a lot of great New Zealand made products, I don't think living entirely off New Zealand made products is feasible for anyone on  budget, in fact, probably not for anyone except the very wealthy. It is possible to buy everything foreign made second hand, that way the money still goes to a New Zealander. That way you can still get cheap clothes and shoes but I found this quite hard too. To get the good second hand stuff you have to go op-shoping regularly, otherwise you miss out. It can become very time consuming though.

I will continue to buy NZ made when the choice is comparably priced though and I don't mind paying a wee bit more for NZ made things, for Trilogy skincare for example. Both Trilogy and Skinfood were two of my fav buys during the year. It seems New Zealand is rather good at producing skincare, there were a few more ranges around than I expected, unfortunately most were rather expensive though. Skinfood is cheap and accessible, it is sold in most supermarkets at $12.99 each. Trilogy is a bit more expensive, around the $30 mark and is sold in pharmacies and Farmers which are just as easy to get to as the supermarket.

Buying NZ made food was hard at first until I learnt what is and what isn't made here. Sometimes it seemed unfair, for example, a can of Home Brand creamed corn costs $1.09 but it is made/produced in Thailand. Watties on the other hand costs $2.14 for a can. It was similar for canned tomatoes. Trying to survive on a student budget meant that if I was going to buy these, usually something else had to be sacrificed. Fresh produce was ok though, I just had to buy what was in season which I normally do anyway. I did miss bananas though.

Other stuff I got that I really liked was from a more niche-like market. Kurtovich notebooks for example, are very cool (sold in Whitcoulls) but also a little on the expensive side ($15). I also found a lot of cool jewelery makers selling mostly through Trademe or Nest. Their stuff was surprisingly cheap too, maybe because it was sold online, I'm not sure. It does seem though, there is a lot of people out there making some very funky jewellery that is definitely worth a look.

I talked to a couple of economists lately who told me that buying strictly NZ made is not such a great idea for the economy, not if the whole population does it anyway. For a start, we need to encourage overseas investment in our country and we need other countries to buy our goods. New Zealand relies heavily on exports and if we start buying less and less overseas goods then are those countries really going to be so keen to buy our stuff? What surprised me the most was when I was told that people buying our exports pay American dollars for them. Apparently, to get those American dollars back into our economy we have to first buy goods from overseas and bring them back here where people will buy them with New Zealand dollars.

So, when the option is there to buy a New Zealand product, I will take it if I can afford it or think it is a good deal (like clothes, shoes and electronics...we don't produce stuff like computers anyway). Otherwise I'll probably stick with the cheapest option. When it comes to fresh produce though, I previously usually bought stuff grown here and will continue doing so.

Doing this project has taught me a lot about my spending habits but unfortunately they're not going to change too much.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

I didn’t want to post this before Christmas in case any of my family happened to read it and figure out what they were getting but...Christmas huh?’s always a bit of a strain on the pockets and considering I’ve found most NZ-made stuff to be rather expensive I knew I wouldn’t be able to buy much this I made most of my presents. It was mostly jewellery which used up a lot of old beads I had lying around (plus a few i got from Trademe...not NZ-made but second hand).  The guys of the family were a bit harder though. My brother is into brewing these days so I popped down to Aqua Vitae to see if they had any NZ-made stuff. Turns out a lot of it is made here...well...the dude behind the counter assured me it was made here, even if the label on the packets said made in Australia, he got a bit fired up when I kept questioning him about it so I said I believed him and bought it anyway. As for Dad, well he’s always been hard to buy for so I decided to make some DVDs (I managed to “borrow” some blank ones from mum!) but that didn’t really work, turns out it takes a very long time to burn DVDs and as I am a do-everything-at-the-last-minute kind of person I kinda ran out of I went down to Dusk, the local NZ-made store. There was some very cool stuff but unfortunately nothing that he would like, same for the market in Cathedral Square. I had almost given up when I found myself amongst the hustle and bustle of the mall, kinda bored I wandered into acquisitions to play with the random wee toys but instead found a small NZ-made section! It was mostly sauces and seasonings which everyone likes right?

And now that Christmas is over I have my summer holiday to look forward to...Australian road trip for two weeks! I booked the tickets at the start of the year, not really thinking how much harder it would be to live NZ-made over there (and to be perfectly honest, I didn’t even think I would last this long, I don’t have the best will power and thought i would have caved by now and gone back to my old spending habits)so I decided why not try buying only NZ and Australian made stuff. Is that a cop out?...maybe but I think it will be an interesting comparison and I am going to be on a super strict budget (being a student doesn’t give much opportunity to save!) in fact, I am going to be cutting it very fine...that’s part of the fun of travelling though right?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Warwick: thankfully New Zealand made.

A slight interrogation of the Warwick customer services people leads me to find cheap New Zealand made stationary, a very welcoming discovery.

Long time no write I know! Things have been a bit crazy around here what with end of term/year assignments and earthquakes. I had to move house as our old one has been too badly damaged which means I haven’t had any spare money for quite some time, also another reason I haven’t written – I haven’t been able to buy anything!

I have been looking into New Zealand made stationary though. Before I started this project I was a bit of a stationary geek, I was such a sucker for a new notebook or a fancy pen so since starting this project I have been lamenting the fact that the only funky New Zealand Made notebooks are $15.

I was having trouble tracking down plainer New Zealand made stationary, I found some Warwick items (refill pad and 50cent notebooks) were labelled as being made here and even though the website lists Warwick as a New Zealand icon, none of the other products had a country of origin label. I emailed Warwick but never heard back so came to the conclusion that I was going to stick to the items that were clearly labelled New Zealand Made.

But I have been going through a lot paper practising my teeline/shorthand and especially in class when we do our speed tests, refill is just too big and bulky. Our tutor tells us to get a specific kind of notebook – a small, top (spiral) bound notebook but I can’t find any that are made here. The one’s she recommends are made in Australia.

I had been using the $15 notebooks when conducting interviews though, so I didn’t lose pages but it was getting rather expensive so I emailed the customer service people at Warwick again, just to check exactly which of their products are made here, hoping that more than refill and the notebooks were made here.
Turns out ALL their products are made here! I feel a little silly for not pursuing my enquiry properly earlier but at least we know for sure now. They don’t make the top bound spiral notebooks my tutor is so set on but they do make side bound ones, they’re pretty much the same!

Monday, August 9, 2010

So we had a mid-winter xmas thing for class...two days before it we did the pull a name out the hat thing for secret santa. I was working all day both of those days so didn't get a chance to go shopping, most New Zealand made stuff seems to be sold online anyway so after postage it would have been way over the $5 limit, not that it would have got to me in those 2 days anyway. I thought my only option was going to be chocolate or Lotto scratchies which I didn't really want to I raided my bead box and was able to make a necklace, the only problem is I'm really jealous of it, I really want it...but now I don't  
   Photo: SMN, Flickr                                                              have enough beads or chain left!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I’ve been seeing silicon and ceramic takeaway coffee cups everywhere and have been feeling really guilty about getting my coffee in disposable cups, even though they are recyclable. I have finally found a New Zealand made one though, check out Ideal Cup, made in Wellington. According to their website, if you purchase one drink a day in a disposable cup you create 10.5kg of waste in a year!

At the moment these cups come with a "classic takeaway" lid which is resusable and biodegradable but the company is hoping to release an 'ideal lid' later this week. The can also make the cups in any colour (if ordering over 300) and print company/cafe logos and infomation.

I know coffee isn't grown here but I consider it to be made here.

There are 136 roasterys in New Zealand about nine of which are in Christchurch.

Of the Christchurch ones Addington, Izon, Ris'tretto, Switch Espresso and Underground Coffee all have 100% Fairtrade organic coffee.

C4, Contract Coffee Roasters (or Caffe Prima), Hummingbird and Vivace Espresso all have the option of Fairtrade organic.

I usually buy Hummingbird or Switch coffee. That's probably because Underground seems to be in almost every cafe, especially on campus and the guy that set up Switch is a friend of a friend kind of thing...and both are really consistent with flavour!

That doesn’t mean the others aren’t good though. Addington Coffee Co-Op have a funky wee cafe and according to their website, “invest their profits back into the communities that bring us this growing range of exquisite products.” C4 also have an amazing cafe but it’s in the opposite direction of where I usually go. Vivace I have seen around but have only ever had one or two so can’t judge the flavour as every barista makes a different coffee. As for Izon and Ris’tretto, I haven’t seen them around town at all!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ok so I'm in Tauranga, when I unpacked my bag last night I discovered I had left my deodorant at home!
I want the ecostore deo which is $12.90, twice the price of supermarket, foreign made deo but it is made here and it's aluminum and paraben free. However, no-one in Tauranga sells it and it's going to cost me $12 for postage from Auckland (or Palmy) which I think is ridiculous...and I only have $15.
So my options are to wait a week till I'm back in Auckland and visit their shop there but go without in the meantime or run down to the supermarket and grab whatever is on special there.
I'm sposed to be climbing a mountain today and have a couple of parties to go to over the next couple of days...and the friends I'm staying with are somewhat opposed to me going without deo so it looks at though I might just have to buy it...or maybe reassess the situation at the end of today.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

So I've had this awful flu/cold for a few days but can't buy panadol or other medicines to help get rid of it! Luckily I had a wee stash of panadol but I'm now down to 4, maybe 6 which won't last long. I've been making lemon drinks with honey which are good for the throat but do nothing for the head. So what should I do?...Just buy the panadol anyway? Last time I was at the docs I asked him to look up what medicines are made here. There were only about 6, one of which is ibuprofen or some form of. I can't find it anywhere though so assume it's a prescription only deal, only I can't afford to go to the doc.  So, either I suck it up and try the mind-over-matter thing or fail and buy it...

I can't even put ginger in my drinks, it's all imported (whole ginger). We do have wild ginger growing here but I've never heard of any outside Waikato and it's the wrong time of year to stick some in the garden...but it's so delicious!

Greggs, which I'm sure you'll find in any New Zealanders pantry, sell ginger. It's not made here, but it is packaged here. I've been assuming this is ok, it's just like Coke being made here except Greggs is a New Zealand company.

Photo: ms.tea