Carys Templer is a charming champion of Zero Waste, a courageous biker, a saviour of ugly and unwanted food, a hot composter and all round sustainability hero. Her clothes are second hand, made of natural fibres, and her bliss balls (made from rescued food) are the stuff of healthy legends.

Kathy Voyles, who works with Carys at the rescue food cafe (Kai Conscious cafe) on Fridays, met her while volunteering at a zero waste station at the Waiheke Wine Festival and suggested she might like to take a look at the Waiheke Resources Trust.

Compost Co

Not too long after Carys was employed by the WRT to manage Kai Conscious and Zero Waste events, she also joined an avid band of passionate hot composters called Home Grown Waiheke who created, designed and piloted Waiheke first hot composting boxes at Living Waters, and then beside the Surfdale carpark. Under the tutelage of compost expert Richard Wallis, the team composted both household food waste and commercial kitchen waste, learning loads of stuff along the way!

This project proved to be a pioneering one and the Compost Co is now one of the many projects under the WRT wing. It picks up waste, ecoware and compostable goods from the many island events and at least 12 businesses. Zero Waste both at the market, and as a part of everyday living, is the way forward for all events and business groups on the island and in New Zealand.


If  Waiheke held its own Sustainability Prize giving Carys would be crowned an Eco-empress and be centre stage. She is a future-maker who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty!  Planting in the Wetlands, chopping, grinding, mulching, shoveling, dealing with all manner of rotting organic matter, she is an absolute legend and has brought vitality and energy to her role of project manager at Kai Conscious, Compost Co. and Coordinator of Zero Waste.

“She is simply an Eco Warrior, wonderful to work with, and an inspiration to be around,” according to Kathy. “When I first met Carys, she told me she was biking to Raglan which is no mean feat. I explained there were some hills and that it was a fair old distance for someone without a bike. Needless to say she did it, had an adventure along the way and got back in one piece! But that’s so typical of her way of looking at the world.”

Mike Maahs WRT’s manager says “Carys is a community binder. Anyone who has a great idea, anyone who might have a need, she will listen, bring them in, build them up and allow them to participate to the fullest. She herself lives life to the fullest and that rubs off on us all.”

When the Right Honourable Eugenie Sage made a speech at the recent opening of the  Sustainability Centre she was clear that projects such as Kai Conscious, The Compost Co, Project Little Oneroa and Love Our Wetlands are leading the way, showing the rest of our country how it can be, should be and will have to be.

Projects such as Zero Waste and the Kai Cafe are only successful because of the sheer hard work and energy of staff and volunteers at the Waiheke Resources Trust. Leaders like Carys Templer make it so much more possible as they lead and manage with a calmness and joy according to workers and volunteers at the WRT.

A huge loss for Waiheke

“Carys leaving on her new adventure is such a huge loss to the WRT and the Waiheke community but what we have gained from her calling Waiheke home over the last few years is huge. She has created initiatives that will have seen over 10,000kgs* of food waste diverted from landfill. Over 7000kgs of that was used to feed the community at the Kai Conscious Cafe. She mobilised 100’s of volunteers to support zero waste events and did so with a contagious energy that created a movement on Waiheke that now sees all of Waiheke’s events, big and small, treading more lightly on the planet. I know I will miss her and her energy very much but I also know that her energy lives on in all of the projects she put her heart and soul into – Kai Conscious, Kai Conscious Cafe, Zero Waste Events, The Compost Co., Home Grown Waiheke Trust, Carbon Neutral Waiheke and many more. As I write this she is swimming from Waiheke to Auckland to raise money for Westpac Rescue Helicopter, what an inspiration! I can’t wait to see what other magic she will do around the world.” says Kristin Busher, WRT.

Her fame has traveled far and wide in terms of biking activities as well. She was at the scene of an accident at the Buggah cafe near Thames, using all her recently learned skills of outdoor first aid coming to the rescue of a man who had been hit by a car and was bleeding profusely. Carys has made a lasting and positive impact on this island and will be thoroughly missed by her many admirers and friends.

Biking for Carbon Neutral Waiheke

Carys is an bicycle activist and has never owned a four wheel vehicle on the island. She is about to embark on another adventure: cycling for Carbon Neutral Waiheke from Cape Reinga to the end of the South island.

Whale hugger and huge whale fan!

Carys is also a long distance swimmer raising funds for the Westpac rescue helicopter by swimming as part of a relay team to Auckland. Last year her leg of the swim was notable for an Orca swimming in her path which pleased her no end. This year she swam again with The Waiheke Whale Huggers to raise funds.

She leaves our island to carry on the good work, and is hoping to join the marine wildlife campaigning organization Sea Shepherd to protect the world’s oceans and surviving marina creatures. Let us hope she returns to our shores to keep up the good work and continue to make our world a better, cleaner, kinder and more sustainable place.

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