NZ-made upcycled totes given as gift bags at the Tonga Housing Forum

May 26, 2023

The first-ever Tonga Housing Forum hosted by Habitat for Humanity New Zealand had a nice detail sewn into the proceedings.  

During the planning process for the forum held mid-May, Habitat was conscious of the materials and waste that may be created in Tonga as a result of this event, so the upcycled tote bags from Habitat Northern’s Curtain Bank created the perfect functional gift that could be reused. The bags are sewn by passionate Habitat volunteers in Auckland and made from donated curtain off-cuts created during the alterations process. 

At the Curtain Bank, donated curtains in good condition are stored and then altered for families who are in need of window furnishings to mitigate cold or dampness in their homes.  

To minimise textile waste from this process that may end up in landfills, the workshop uses the off-cuts to create tote bags of all patterns and colours that are then sold in the ReStores, further helping to fund Habitat’s housing initiatives in the region.  

Read more about the Curtain Bank: 

Read more about the Tonga Housing Forum: 


Forum attendee choosing their bag from the pile of patterns.


The tote bags in a pile at the forum registration table.