Water Cooler: DIY seed-raising pots, vote kaka for bird of the year, The Thinkladder app and a must-see exhibition

This week in the water cooler, we’re making our own seed raising pots, supporting the kākā for Bird of the Year, learning about the Thinkladder app and visiting the On the Street exhibition.


Today’s haul from Rebecca’s lifestyle block

Gardening is my new-found obsession, and I’m proud to say that despite my novice gardening status, I can grow a thing or two! NZ Lifestyle Block Editor Nadene Hall, knowing how much I love gardening, has supplied me with copious seeds to try. I have already planted beetroot and tomato seeds successfully, but have found getting the seedlings out (which are in plastic pots) to be re-planted a bit of a hassle. Which brings me to this:

DIY PROJECT:  Make your own biodegradable newspaper seed starting pots

Here is a way of making your own seedling pots, which can then be planted straight into the ground. The newspaper simply breaks down in the ground and it prevents transplant shock. They are easy to make and kind to the environment and the only equipment that is needed is a newspaper, scissors and a jar or bottle in which to wrap the paper around.

Step 1: Cut the newspaper to approx 40cm x 15cm

Step 2: Fold one edge over approx 2cm, crease then unfold. (This becomes the top of the pot)

Step 3: Using a jar or bottle, roll the newspaper around it, leaving approx 4cm overhanging at the end opposite to the crease you’ve made.

Step 4: Tipping the bottle upside down, fold in the edge of the paper on both sides to the centre of the bottle and pinch the edges to make it sturdier. This forms the bottom of the pot.

More stories you might like:
Architect couple's two different approaches to design

Step 5: Turn up the right way, remove the bottle then fold the top of the paper inside following the line of the crease previously made.

Done. Once the soil is placed inside the pot it will help to keep the pot sturdy.
Once the seedling is at the desired size to replant, just make a hole in the soil big enough for the pot to fit into and put it in. The newspaper will break down in the ground.

Rebecca Needham
Art Director NZ Lifestyle Block


It’s Bird of the Year time, and this year thisNZlife is behind the gregarious parrot, the kākā. We fell in love with the kākā of Stewart Island and Ulva Island when researching our travel annual, The Insider’s Guide to New Zealand . Hoppy, the kākā, stars in the 2018 edition – out November 27 (pre-order your copy here) he cheeky regular at Observation Rock Lodge was nursed back to health by owner Annett Eiselt, and now refuses to leave. Bird of the Year is an annual competition run by Forest & Bird. New Zealanders are asked to vote for their favourite bird at www.birdoftheyear.org.nz. Make a donation to help save New Zealand’s threatened and endangered birds here. Right now the votes for kākā are fewer than for other birds. Rival New Zealand parrot, the kea, is in first place. Get online and vote for the kākā – and stay tuned for some fun kākā memes for the thisNZlife team.

Emma Rawson
thisNZlife editor


More stories you might like:
Inside the expensive world of houseplants: The reality of making a living from cuttings + how to create a thriving indoor garden

As part of the Mental Health Awareness Week I attended the launch party of the Thinkladder app and live art exhibition held at the Tim Melville Gallery on Wednesday evening. The Thinkladder app is the brainchild of Mark and Katie Gatt, who left their day jobs to develop a mental health tool to help people cope with anxiety and depression on a day-to-day basis.

The app uses cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) which is a proven psychological method that helps us pinpoint our negative thoughts and behaviour which can fuel anxiety and depression and provides steps forward to alternative, positive ways of thinking and acting – much like climbing a ladder.

The launch was the perfect metaphor for the app with talented artists Andrew Steel, Gina Kiel, Elliot Collins, Lizzie Snow and Mica Still live painting onto tall ladders during the evening before a large crowd of supporters. The gathered group were a relatively young demographic and this is heartening as it proves the stigma of mental illness is diminishing and such an app will be a very good way to reach and support this group. The app can be downloaded from itunes for $5.

Thinkladder app is designed to help you stay on track with new positive ways of thinking or ‘insights’ through scheduled reminders or location reminders to help support you through your day. As described on their website, “Our beliefs go with us everywhere and influence every decision we make.”
“Thinkladder helps you discover, evaluate and adapt your unique belief system and enhance your personal wellbeing.”
Personally I think this is a fantastic app if you are looking for some self-help support for anxiety or depression and well done to the Gatts for masterminding this pocket resource.
Milla Novak
Designer NZ Life & Leisure

More stories you might like:
When to thin your fruit trees for improved fruit quality


On the Street is a must-see exhibition by photographer John Crawford open for three days only. Using only his smartphone, John captured photos and stories of homeless New Zealanders over three years. Catch the exhibition at the Gow Langsford Gallery, 26 Lorne Street, CBD, Auckland – proceeds from the exhibition will go towards Auckland’s City Mission.

Yolanta Woldendorp
Art Director, NZ Life & Leisure


Twenty-odd years ago, it was common to see roadside stalls, fresh produce, and a little container for the money.
There’s still a few around, but they tend to be far more off the beaten track, the ones only the locals know about.

This is the cutest one I’ve come across lately and you definitely have to be local to find it. Since that’s part of what keeps it secure, I won’t give away where it is, but I did have to show you their payment flow. Fun, and secure!

Nadene Hall
Editor NZ Lifestyle Block



Send this to a friend