Repair Café Aotearoa New Zealand Story
The Repair Café movement came to Aotearoa with the first Repair Café run by the Lyttelton Harbour Timebank at Diamond Harbour school in 2013 as part of the Kura Festival of Learning. The Pt Chevalier Transition Town team organised the second one in 2016, and shortly afterwards Repair Café Auckland was established through a grant from Auckland Council. This allowed for purchasing and kitting out a mobile repair trailer and supporting events in the Auckland region. 18 events with 12 different community partners in 13 different locations across Tāmaki Makaurau from Matakana down to Papakura were supported. Sadly, all the specialist tools were stolen out of the trailer, and key personnel moved onto other roles in late 2019.
In 2020 Repair Café Aotearoa New Zealand (RCANZ) was established, with a launch event held on 16 October 2021, International Repair Day (check out our launch video here). It operates to support the existing repair cafés scattered across the country with promotions, advocacy, and capacity building to amplify the impacts of repair for local communities. By reducing duplication of organisational processes, providing promotional and practical support for event organisers, RCANZ enables local groups to focus on engaging their communities, supporting their volunteers, and providing fun and inclusive events that build connection, support community resilience, and reduce waste.
Assistance with setting up a repair café in your neighbourhood is another focus of RCANZ. As of mid. 2023, there are now 50+ Repair Cafés operating in New Zealand, and more are popping up all the time.
RCANZ is a member of, and currently umbrellaed by the Zero Waste Network of NZ (ZWN). ZWN comprises more than 100 organisations and groups around the country all working with their local community towards Zero Waste. The RCANZ steering committee is a small group of volunteers who dedicate their time to this national endeavour and facilitate repair community development in Aotearoa as well as advocate for the Right to Repair.
RCANZ sits within the context of the International Repair Café movement (2009), the Right to Repair movement, and advocacy for mandatory Product Stewardship in New Zealand. Making products repairable and durable by design is an essential step toward waste minimisation, decarbonisation and climate justice, a goal that RCANZ supports actively with its collaborators.
**In the spirit of Repair Cafés and to avoid confusion, we acknowledge Doughnut Economics Advocates NZ (DEANZ) in their efforts of contributing to the expansion of the number of repair cafés in the Auckland region since late 2020.