The summer of 2023 marked a first and fresh collaboration with the crew from General Service and Love Wānaka. Instigated by a group of local creatives who wanted to put their design skills into supporting local.  You can read more on the collaboration journey and process below.

LW: Hey team, give us some insight on who and what General Service is?

GS: G’day g’day! Well on paper General Service (GS) is a shared office space open to anyone needing a central place to work from. Beyond paper however, GS is a collective entity of photographers, filmers, graphic designers, engineers, product designers, agri start-ups, and marketers. In general we have all sorts of people working remotely, some from the big smoke, some from here. And that is, Wānaka for you.

Two men having a conversation on a couch.

General Service came about when 5 of us Sam Baker, Jonty McCool, Patrick Greene, Finlay Woods + Chris Maunsell, all Wānaka friends who had been ‘running our own ships’ decided it would be better together.  

First up was shed 1.0, where we found that although we worked in different fields, productivity levels went through the roof in a shared environment, through holding each other accountable and providing sounding boards for new ideas.

LW: This summer you (willingly) slaved away to screen-print up some T-shirts for the Love Wānaka Community Fund. So run us through the process of this collaboration and how it all went!

GS: Haha yes, we did indeed. The idea came from Pat, head of accounts here at GS, and after many spreadsheets and number crunching, he realised that we ought to make use of General Service’s prime CBD location and so the merchandising began. So while most of our GS residents were off galavanting their summers away, we got in touch with the good people at The Print RoomAS Colour, Lake Wānaka, and Steinlarger and made use of our space.

The recipe was obvious, The Print Room had a portable t-shirt screen printer available, AS Colour were on board to supply us some tees, Lake Wānaka were in the midst of  launching the new Love Wānaka community fund, and Steinlarger had a responsible amount of beverages in stock to assist us in the heat.

T-shirts hanging on a rack outside.
Man screen printing t-shirts by hand.

We had 2 x design options that were on offer; a Mt. Aspiring NP. tee, and a Lake Wānaka tee, of which we would contribute $5 of each Wānaka tee sold to kickstart the Love Wānaka fund.

It was a conversation with Lake Wānaka that sparked the Wānaka t-shirt design idea and people really liked it. They’d walk in the door, select a colour of t-shirt, then one of the designs and we would then screen print it right there in front of them. It was actually a really cool interaction just like the Love Wānaka campaign, it gave the person a connection and a story to the t-shirt. Which in a sense is what the Love Wānaka fund is all about in regards to the Wānaka region itself.

LW: As you know, the Love Wānaka Community Fund raises funds to support localised climate, conservation, and biodiversity initiatives in our region. So, we’ve gotta ask the big, important question – what do you want to see for the future of Wānaka?

GS: We wouldn’t be classed as geniuses stating that Wānaka is a beautiful spot, both in its people and place. So we think that what you lot are up to with the idea of ‘sharing’ the ability to look after and nurture the area is magic and is a great way of connecting people to the region and insisting that it is being looked after.

Text on the back of a t-shirt.

Essentially it’s giving both locals and visitors a chance to give back to Wānaka, and that’s a nice way to make people feel attached to the place. If you plant a tree somewhere, you grow a connection to that place and you’re going to want to make sure it grows strong and healthy, which in parts is what Love Wānaka is all about doing. Side note about trees – we’re actually looking at taking the DNA from ThatWanakaTree and making a clone of it for outside of General Service to redirect tourists to the city centre. 

In short (and in all seriousness) I suppose we want to see people look after the place, both locals and visitors, keep it looking mint, and that should keep everyone happy.

LW: How is GS approaching climate impact and sustainability from a small business perspective?

GS: Well aside from us all biking to work each day and all the usual carry-on, we choose to partner with brands like Steinlager who also share climate impact values, being NZ’s first carbon neutral beer brand under the Toitū cert. Which we think is fantastic!

T-shirt graphic with the words Wanaka.
Man holding up a t-shirt that says

LW: Okay, last question. Give us your top sustainable hack!

GS: As it turns out, drinking big volumes of Steinlager doesn’t actually correlate to being sustainable.

Our best and easiest hot tips would probably be; bike to work (feels great too) and, being relevant coming off the back of the festive season, give gifts that are made locally or can be redeemed locally. One thing that running a co-working space has taught us is that there are so many talented people and businesses in this region and backing them can be cheap, easy and far more fulfilling.

Two men on a bike overlooking Lake Wanaka.

Take a moment to check out General Service.