Author: theloopcrew

The Great Drain Game 20 years!

By Nikki Sturrock

WOW 20 years!! I am so excited, thankful and humbled that The Great Drain Game is still going strong after all these years. I can still see and feel the frustration, as my normally mild mannered and lovely boyfriend bashed and clattered around the kitchen spouting expletives and burning dinner. Campbell, a water pollution officer, had sadly dealt with hundreds of dead eels, fish, shellfish and polluted beaches. He’d had to prosecute and fine many citizens and businesses for pouring their wastes down the drain. Some intentionally!! And had spent many hours cleaning up, a very stressful and often heart breaking and often thankless job. Don’t even get me started on the Car wash Fundraisers!! “Would your poor it in your fish tank?! Would ya!!”

And “Now!” he tells me, “now! The great new way to combat this everyday environmental catastrophe and total lack of education is to spend yet another $60k of tax payer money on..” he waits for a pause glaring at me with a serving spoon in his hand,…”printing NEW f#*king PAMPHLETS!! Because of course a new brochure rewording last years brochure explaining that outside drains are actually living streams! people! and ever so politely please, dispose of your waste down an inside drain or take it to the transfer station like people who actually give a sh#t! Oh but this new brochure is going to work soooo much better than last years brochure or the year before that! or the year before that!…. because this year someone had the total brainwave to make it… f#^king GLOSSY!!!” At this point he realizes the contents of the serving spoon, burnt though it is, is now sliding off the light bulb above him.

He sighs and looks at me…”people just don’t know that pouring anything down an outside drain is just tipping poison into our streams and killing creatures all the way to the sea. Its not until we have caught them and my team are fining them do they understand and this does not endear them at all, to streams struggling to hang in there.”

I learnt a lot from that evening and while he had been downloading he had know idea he was bringing an incredible world to life for me, in all honesty before that moment I had never considered drains, they were just invisibly there, I had even flicked cigarette buts down them in my rebel years (I thought it best to keep that to myself as he had been hacking spuds with a carving knife and smoke was rising around him when the thought had occurred to me). Let alone imagining the incredible life that tries to survive beneath our city streets.

During this awakening I drew the Great Drain Game for Campbell, I felt sure if people could play it they’d  understand the life we have to lose. I went on to build 5 games for 4 councils and at its peak 250 school kids were playing it every day and it was doing the rounds of festivals and events at weekends. I lost count of players 10 years ago at about 300,000 and now the game is in its 20th year.

I am so grateful to my boyfriend now husband and father of my children for the inspiration and learning he is to me. I am also so grateful to all the people who worked with me to make the game happen. The Auckland Regional Council, The North Shore City Council, Hawkes Bay regional Council, Tauranga city Council, Nelson City Council, Auckland City Council, Keep New Zealand Beautiful , Kids 4 Drama and the all the kids, volunteers and workers who played, then taught others how to play.

Lastly but by no means least I would like to thank Tread Lightly for continuing the work. You can book it at I was so chuffed to be invited to see it in action. I was bowled over when a young woman about 20 years old, there representing a potential sponsor,  said ” Hey! I remember you, you taught me how to play The Great Drain Game when I was just a kid” about 12 years previous we worked out and now here she was wanting the company she worked for to get on board as a sponsor! Speaking of sponsors a shout out to Kelly Tarltons and Tom Ryan Transport!

I hope you enjoy the photos and for those of you who played the game thank you and remember:

Outside Drains flow to the Sea.

Inside Drains flow to a treatment Plant.

Outside Drains are only for rain.


Motor Caravanner Magazine – Article 11

We can’t believe it’s been two years since we first appeared in the NZMCA Motorcaravanner Magazine. Our latest and final article is just out in the December / January issue. In this article Nikki reflects on some of the highlights of our adventure so far and we also summarise our carbon footprint.

Our adventures in The Loop bus are far from finished and we are grateful to the NZMCA for the opportunity they have given us to share our thoughts and discoveries with our fellow members in print. We hope we have left them a little better than we found them in their own sustainability journey.

We hope you enjoy the read.

The Sturrocks – NZMCA Article 11 – November 2017

Motor Caravanner Magazine – Article 10

Our latest article is out in the August / September issue of the NZMCA Motorcaravanner Magazine.

We have traveled for over a year now, meeting new people and immersing ourselves into new communities. We have seen some stunning places and enjoyed some incredible hospitality but we have also seen some real challenges and environmental issues along the way.

In this article we talk about some of the people we have met on our journey who are trying to live sustainably and by “leave it better than you find it” in order to make a difference to those challenges and issues.

We hope you enjoy the read.

The Sturrocks – NZMCA Article 10 – August 2017

Motor Caravanner Magazine – Article 9

Our latest article is out in the June / July issue of the NZMCA Motorcaravanner Magazine.

In this article Nikki covers roadschooling the kids, a visit from and international documentary crew, meeting a special New Zealand botanist who has lead an incredible forest regeneration project on Banks Peninsula, our journey from Canterbury across to the majestic West Coast and some interesting and scary facts about native bird conservation.

We hope you enjoy the read.

The Sturrocks – NZMCA Article 9 – June 2017


Motor Caravanner Magazine – Article 8

Our latest article is out in the February / March issue of the NZMCA Motorcaravanner Magazine.

As we discussed in our previous article conscious consumers hold the power to make a positive impact in the world by spending (or not spending) money on companies that align to sustainable values. “Every time you spend money, you are voting for the kind of world you want.” Anna Lappe.

But what of the conscious consumption of time? In this article we highlight a few of the many examples we have encountered of people spending their time in a positive manner to make a difference in the world.

The Sturrocks – NZMCA Article 8 – April 2017


The story behind our shirts – Liminal Apparel and Freeset Global

The conversations around sustainability have brought us stories from all over the world. We have been enlightened, awestruck and feel so grateful to individuals and organisations showing us how to positively impact the present and the future. It has made us proud to see that New Zealanders too are playing a significant role in this worldwide rethink.

The Loop Crew has sourced our Crew T-Shirts here in New Zealand through Liminal Apparel. Liminal sell a range of products that are made under fair working conditions, with the finest organic materials. They are one of the companies in a Co-operative that also include a coffee roastery, a cafe and a small farm. Together they return 70% of their profits back to the local community and to some of the producers and communities overseas that create the products they sell. The other 30% is reinvested into the business. Shareholders don’t take a cent in dividends.

A large proportion of Liminal Apparel products, including our t-shirts are sourced from Freeset Global. Freeset was founded by kiwi couple Kerry and Annie Hilton who provide dignified employment to women and girls trapped in the sex trade in Kolkata, India. Prostitution is big business and thrives on exploitation and slavery, robbing the poor of dignity and innocence. Freeset offers freedom through a business alternative and women are paid around twice the going rate for an equivalent job elsewhere and as part of their employment package have health insurance and a pension plan.

Is $50 too much to ask for a custom printed 100% non toxic Fairtrade organic cotton Tee that helps the earth, empowers women and girls, supports small-scale farmers and a New Zealand Co Op that returns the profits of its business back to the producers and communities to whom they really belong?