Raglan Trade Aid celebrates 30 years of fair trade

Trade Aid Whaingaroa celebrates 30 years delivering the fair trade message and products to Raglan this month.

The shop sprang to life in 1989 when Māori land rights activist Eva Rickard was the first in the area to dabble in Trade Aid products, selling fair trade coffee from her Māori arts shop Waka Huia in Wainui Rd.

There have been many incarnations over the years, including altering the size of the current location and subletting sections of the premises to cope with rent rises over the years.

Shop manager Donna McGough says it’s the awesome community spirit, environmentalism and social activism that has lent itself to the success and longevity of the shop.

“Our community is wonderful and they see us through the hard winter months that affect most of the shops in town. Trade Aid NZ would be very unlikely to start up a shop nowadays in a small town like Raglan,” she says.

Trade Aid do things a little differently than your average business, Donna says, and has been combining development and trade for over 40 years.

“We are an example of how businesses can help build a better world and that there is an alternative way of trade – a fair way,” she says.

Trade Aid’s trading partners benefit from the fair and stable prices they receive for their products enabling them to invest in a variety of capacity building activities and resources, including training, health facilities, environmental initiatives, and educational services for their members.

Run as a social enterprise and overseen by a local trust, Trade Aid has a couple of paid staff members and a handful of local volunteers who are committed to supporting Trade Aid’s work.

“The Raglan Trade Aid team see their efforts as a very practical and useful way of making a difference,” she says.

The longest-serving shop volunteers and trustees Ann Kingsbury and Len Swann-  both in their 70s – still make the trip from Ruapuke to volunteer in the shop one day a week as well as attending monthly Trade Aid Trust meetings.

The pair have nearly 50 years combined service as shop volunteers – Ann started in 1995 and shoulder-tapped her cousin Len to do the same three months later.

“The best thing about volunteering at Trade Aid is being surrounded by such beautifully hand-crafted objects and fine foodstuffs; the fact that they are fairly traded is a bonus.  I also really value the interaction with colleagues and customers,” Ann says.

Former shop staff and volunteers will be invited to a celebration morning tea. Please contact Trade Aid Whaingaroa/Raglan trust chair Meredith Youngson before Monday 21 October at meredith.youngson@ gmail.com or 021 563143.

Head to the shop between Saturday, October 19 and Friday, October 25 to pick up a birthday celebration bargain.

Janine Jackson