New Zealander of the Year

Connecting People to Each Other and the Earth

NZOTY_Jade Temepara

Life has only got faster for Jade Temepara since she became a finalist in the Kiwibank Local Hero Award in 2013. Jade explains her mission to get families gardening, and says why she believes a Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Award nomination is an ideal way to acknowledge those who “put their heart and soul into working for other people”.


Jade Temepara is not just close to nature  — she’s a force of nature.

At 36, mother–of–five Jade has helped hundreds of people go green through her Hand over a Hundy family gardening project. Her new cafe — and the organic garden that sustains it — has already become a community hub in Christchurch.

“It’s all about connecting people to each other and to the earth,” says Jade. “There are so many important things that we forgot when we walked away from our gardens.”

Jade, of Ngāi Tahui, Kāti Mamoe, Ngāpuhi andNgāti Tūwharetoa tribal affiliations, developed a passion for gardening after her grandfather asked her to take responsibility for growing a type of Māori potato that had been handed down through the generations and had fed the family in times of need.

Jade’s green conversion inspired her to setup the Hand over a Hundy programme to teach people to cut grow their own vegetables, slashing their grocery bills and living more sustainably.

Families who sign up to the Hand over a Hundy programme are paired with a gardening mentor and given $100 to buy gardening essentials. Once they have recouped the money by growing or selling produce from their gardens, they hand $100 over to another family.

Now in its sixth year, Hand over a Hundy has helped more than 700 people learn to grow their own food.

Jade’s latest venture is Kākano cafe in central Christchurch, which opened in February 2016. A 280 square-metre organic garden provides produce for the cafe, which also hosts seminars, workshops and training sessions on subjects ranging from garlic-growing to fermentation.

Becoming a finalist in the Kiwibank Local Hero Award finalists raised the profile of her work, attracted new supporters and led to lifelong friendships, says Jade.

At the awards ceremony, Jade sat on the same table as Sam Judd, Sustainable Coastlines co-founder and winner of the 2013 Young New Zealander of the Year. Sam is now a member of Hand over a Hundy’s trust, and the pair are hugely supportive of each other’s work.

“I’m really into supporting what other people do,” says Jade.

“I nominated someone for the Kiwibank Local Hero Award last year because I think it’s important to acknowledge anyone who puts their heart and soul into working for other people. It’s good for people to know that you appreciate them and that their toil is not in vain.”

Do you know someone whose contribution makes New Zealand a better place? Nominate them for the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards today at  Nominations close September 30,2016. #bestofus.