Catch up - Elizabeth Meaclem

Name: Elizabeth Meaclem
Company: Mana Recovery
Established: 1996
By: concerned family and health workers of former Keneperu patients.
Team: 50 staff, half through training programme plus 70 trainees
Location: Upper Main Drive, Keneperu, Porirua

Saving the planet in more ways than one... 
Mana Recovery is the absolute stand-out feel-good winner of 2012.

They won Green Gold for their work in both rescuing people - who may slip through the cracks, and giving second chances to some of our refuse along the way.

Elizabeth Meaclem is their tireless leader, helping turn around the business, the lives of many and rescuing stuff....what a great day at the office. 

They make money too, last year turning over $1.6 million and they train about 100
people each year.

Elizabeth sees many transformations just like these each year:

"John" now in his early 30s arrived in 2009 with serious mental health problems. He was extremely shy, but now he is employed full time at a hardware store and positively thriving.

"Mary" is in her late 40s. She has recently increased her hours to 40 per week. She is extremely hard working, doing the very intricate work of dismantling electronic waste. She recently told a visiting Probus group touring the site how well paid her work was for Mana Recovery and that she is driven to earn more to help others to get work just like her.



2012 was a very successful year for Mana Recovery so it is tricky to think of just one proud moment! Winning an award at prestigious as the Gold Award has led to new business, new funding and more awards including:

 Representing Mana Recovery as Greater Wellington Supreme Winners of Wellington Airport Community Awards in Methven in March 2012. I had the honour of co-presenting with Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett. We presented an eight minute showcase of the work we do at Mana Recovery.

•  Westpac Porirua Business Awards of Excellence: November 2012 – Winner Community Category

•  Sustainable 60 Awards:  November 2012 – Runner Up Medium Business Category & Finalist Community Category

 I was a finalist for Wellingtonian of the Year – Environment category  in November 2012 in recognition of the environmental work at Mana Recovery and Trash Palace 

 Our Board Secretary, Ted Gallen, was awarded New Zealander of the Year – Local Hero 

The positive recognition we received has led to success in fund-raising in 2012 with $100,000 additional funds raised through grants and funding. 


When I commenced work at Mana Recovery nearly three years ago, we were running at a significant financial deficit due to the economic downturn. Working with the staff and Board, we created a six month strategy to turn the organisation into a viable enterprise. We had to work quickly and needed to make some major decisions and changes. We managed to do this with the support of some MSD funding and the great support we received from Westpac Bank who “took a gamble” on our business plan” which paid off.

We have now finished in surplus for the past two years and tracking well this year. All surplus money raised goes into more employment outcomes and we have been able to created new employment opportunities for the people we support. Watching the fantastic flow on effects this has on our people and their family/whanau is very rewarding.


To secure new contracts, to continue building the organisation with a key objective to provide more full-time jobs for our trainees


To be the best model of social enterprise in New Zealand with on-going sustainable income and funding.


·       As we work in the recycling industry our greatest issue is the commodity prices for our products mainly paper, cardboard, plastics and metals. It is already an industry with a very fine margin so we are looking at other business opportunities to fill the income gap.

·        We are currently gearing up for the TV Takeback scheme which will see thousands of TV’s dropped off for recycling later this year. We will need our rollerskates on……..


Recently Elizabeth spoke to 
Bryan Crump at Radio New Zealand 

about Mana Recovery...listen here





+ Text Size -
Original generation time 4.7502 seconds. Cache Loaded in: 0.0574 seconds.