Greening the Rubble – With Rhys Taylor

Resilience is a companion to sustainability and just as essential. Resilience is the ability to bounce back, to respond positively and creatively to challenges and to keep on going. So how resilient is Dunedin? How resilient are we as a community?

For example, what would happen here if we faced a challenge similar to the one faced by Cantabrians following the earthquakes and aftershocks?

The aftermath of the earthquakes in Christchurch and the Canterbury region has been an ongoing challenge for the residents living there. Much of the hope and positive action has come from the grass roots – from the actions of individuals and communities connecting with each other.

Greening the Rubble or GtR is one inspiring initiative that has emerged from the Canterbury earthquakes. This community project creates and maintains temporary public parks on cleared sites – some food producing, some artistic, some fun – all inspiring in their diversity and ability to literally green the rubble again.

In this show I chat with Rhys Taylor, one of the founders of this project  about Community Resilience and their Greening the Rubble Initiative

Rhys is a busy man! He is a freelance writer and educator, an accredited advisor for The Natural Step, and he is the National Coordinator of the Sustainable Living Education Trust. He was a co-founder of the Greening the Rubble Project in Christchurch following the earthquake there. This initiative has received several awards. In 2012 Rhys personally received a Community Service Award for his role in the Greening the Rubble project from the Spreydon–Heathcote Community Board.

Rhys currently lives in Geraldine where he is involved with river catchment farmer & community groups, with ECan, the Future Living Festival and also supports local community garden initiatives. Example:

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To listen to the programme Greening the Rubble please click on

This programme was originally broadcast on  the  26th March 2015 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is hosted by Maureen Howard and is supported by the Dunedin City Council. To view other programmes go to

Rhys Taylor wearing his Greening the Rubble t-shirt

Rhys Taylor wearing his Greening the Rubble t-shirt

Rhys Taylor, Meg ? and Jonathan ? receive

Rhys Taylor (left) with , Meg Christic and Jonathan Hall receiving the Christchurch Earchwquake Award. Rhys says, “this was an example of public recognition of our great team of volunteers. Only Jonathan and I were paid workers, each of us part-time, and we also volunteered. Meg was a trustee and active volunteer”.


Building of the Nature Play Park on Hereford Street West of Latimer Square (a joint project with Department of Conservation).


The Nature Play Park.  Here volunteers are assisting with the laying of the turf.

Pallet gazebo

Coffee Zone on Colombo Street Sydenham. “This was one of our earliest gardens, shared with a coffee vendor’s funky kiosk, decorated with Lego pieces whose colours we echoed in our structures”, says Rhys

Crops being grown in 'pallet planters'

Greening the Rubble experimented with pallet structures as seats, planters and walls and with making trailer-re-locatable modular gardens,


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