Cuppa Tea

Mission: To support the development of a resilient Blueskin community

Objectives: To stimulate reasoned engagement and debate for the benefit of the Blueskin Community; To build participation and stimulate action; To document and disseminate the ideas and opinion of this time.

This is a place for those of us who accept that positive action and change are urgently required in order for this planet and its inhabitants to thrive. We welcome respectful comments that are thoughtful and focused on solutions to the environmental challenges that we all are facing.

We aim to stimulate discussions about significant issues usually with reference to the Blueskin community. Are we hopelessly naive to think that we can build stronger community by encouraging discussion, contention and reasoned argument? Time will tell.


Posted on 16th May 2019 (this article was first published in the Otago Daily Times on the 23rd of February 2019)

by Scott Willis

Children think outside the box. That’s the reason Nasa pays attention to children’s designs for space ships: children’s creativity can open doorways. When Gareth Hughes MP opened the Waitati School solar array last October he was celebrating not only the first Otago solar school but also our local Enviroschool and it’s students as innovative trail-blazers and future leaders.

Posted on 14 March 2019

by Dr Dougal McQueen

Burning the backs of my legs through wet jeans while sitting on top of the Conray was a moment I was proud to be a New Zealander. Electricity, generated by the mighty Clutha cascading through the turbines of the Roxburgh Dam, conveyed through transmission lines marching across the Lammerlaws and down via distribution lines from Three Mile Hill, and into the radiant coils. The generators, transmission and distribution lines, and heater all owned to some extent by us as part of a proud community.

Posted on 30 December 2018

 by Martin White

 Energy is changing. New technologies such as electric vehicles, home batteries and cheap, efficient solar, are being combined with sophisticated software that helps people make the best of this equipment. This is giving people more control over their power usage than ever before, enabling them to save money, save the planet and help their communities.

Posted on 17 July 2017

by Chris Perley

Let us start with a story.  I once had a discussion with a roading engineer.  It started badly and got progressively worse.  He was explaining to me – is there an engineer equivalent to mansplaining? – that the route down the coastal Norfolk Pine avenue of Marine Parade from the Napier Port to the Awatoto Fertiliser works was the shortest distance for the heavy trucks (He spoke slowly so I was able to follow his indisputable logic). 

Posted on 12 May 2017

by Stephanie Pole

That’s the question I was asked by one of my bosses when he learned I lived in a Housing Co-op. And to be honest that’s the response from many people. They have visions of communes like Centrepoint and Gloriavale. But I live in the Peterborough Housing Co-op governed by the Otakaro Land Trust, situated in Central Christchurch. We have no religious affiliation and no charismatic leader promising to guide us to a better place!

Posted on 3 March 2017

by Sean Connelly

I recently picked up Frances Moore Lappe and Joseph Collins’s 1977 book Food First: Beyond the Myth of Scarcity.  This was the follow up book to Lappe’s hugely popular Diet for a Small Planet.  Although it was written nearly 40 years ago, the key message of the book is still relevant.  The authors suggest that food provides the most useful tool to make sense of our complex world and that food is the right place to focus our attention and energy if we want change to occur.  While the nature of global and local problems have shifted since that time, I believe the underlying message holds true.  It is worrying that after 40 years, we are still grappling with similar problems.

Posted on 2 November 2016

by Pam McKinley

Electric vehicles are great for the environment and your wallet, and amazing to drive. A guide about owning and driving an electric vehicle (EV) in New Zealand can be found in The New Zealand Electric Car Guide. The NZ government has also put out a guide at EECA.  If you are on Facebook there is the NZ EV Owners group, plus Dunedin EV Owners has a Facebook page and monthly email newsletter for local owners and anyone interested in EV topics.

Posted on 2 March 2016

by Hugh Campbell

The signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) provides the perfect moment to reflect on whether the long term dream of successive New Zealand governments to usher in a world of free trade in agriculture has taken on a increasingly fantastical quality.

Posted on 22 November 2015

by John Kaiser

Keeping power generation, distribution, and retailing local and community-owned

I have been intending to write this article for more than three years and it was finally written in September 2015. Since March 2015 I have been working part-time for the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust (BRCT) as a volunteer, which means I now have access to updated information on its wind turbine initiative. I therefore acknowledge the input Scott Willis of the BRCT has had in factually checking this article and suggesting a few changes to accurately reflect the current position of the project.

Posted on 15 August 2015

Interview with Councillor Jinty MacTavish

We sought out Councillor Jinty MacTavish to get a inside take on local government and the mechanics of our local democratic system in this interview.

Posted on 30 June 2015

by Hilary Rowley

“News Flash. Massive climate change event prevents food supplies from reaching Dunedin.” This is becoming an increasingly likely scenario. I had in mind the Christchurch earthquakes and the major snows a few years ago which closed all access roads to Blueskin Bay when I started to write this article, but this week alone we have had our own earthquake and a record rainfall which was so close to being a damaging flood.

Posted on 1 June 2015

by Peter Dowden

Editor’s note: For many residents of Blueskin Bay, full-time employment means a 20 kilometre each way commute to Dunedin, made more challenging by the bulk of Mt Cargill lying between here and there. It’s a challenging trade-off: enjoy the beauty and peace of living out of the city – and often find a lower-footprint lifestyle than we would in a city neighborhood – but use an embarrassing lot of petrol getting from here to there. Peter Dowden takes a historically minded look at our travel options, projects that have been tried in the past, and projects that might be resurrected in the future. Does being employed in town really mean being car-dependent? For most of us, for now, probably, though occasional travelers have other options. And all of us can look back at what has been tried and look ahead toward what alternatives we might be able to develop in the future.

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