Sustainability at Paintball Corp

Before reading this, please read our business biography to see how we got to this point.

The below is our application for the Sustainability Award in the Wellington Region Business Excellence Awards 2018. While we take pride in being protecting our environment and enjoy getting people outdoors, our true joy lies in how we impact the community around us. This application explains how we play our part.

Although big changes are important to us, it’s often the small things we do that changes lives. We work hard to promote not only exercise and enjoyment, but better mental health, confidence, self-esteem, and healthy relationships. Paintball Corp could not exist without the community, and the community is at the heart of everything we do.

This is us.

We are a small, close knit business, hoping to do great things. At the heart of our company is our determination to leave our part of the world better than it was before we came, so we take care of the environment, foster positive relationships with the community, and work hard to be inclusive. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter that we're small - if we don't make an effort to do this, who will?

Taking care of the environment is central to our business model. From maintaining the dirt road to our Grenada North field (which we slide down anyway in wet weather), to clearing out the gorse in Pomare (and we have the scars to prove it), being a part of Paintball Corp means being outdoors, and we love it. All our paintballs are biodegradable, non-toxic, and fully edible, although they do taste like earwax, meaning that we don't destroy our natural locations. We're also slowly transitioning into solely using renewable energy, installing solar panels at both our fields.

But as important as the environment is to us, the core of our business is the people. We see all sorts, from all kinds of economic, social and cultural backgrounds walk through our doors, and we aim to give each and every one of them the best paintball experience possible. This means doing things like working with charities, offering discounts to low-income families, helping students gain work experience, offering school-holiday scholarships and celebrating all the various cultures that make up our country. Paintball to us isn’t just a sport, it’s a way of life - no matter who we are, or where we come from, or how old we are, on the field we are all equal.

  He Aha O Te Mea Nui O Te Ao? He Tangata, He Tangata, He Tangata.

He Aha O Te Mea Nui O Te Ao? He Tangata, He Tangata, He Tangata.


ENVIRONMENT:

  • Getting People Outside

Paintball isn’t just fun, it’s good for health and sustainability. As an outdoor sport set in a natural environment, it brings kids of all ages out into the fresh air for a healthy amount of exercise, disguised as fun! Our natural fields also encourage exploration and care, as we teach our groups to be aware of their surroundings, and to leave nothing behind. These are concepts vital to the sustainability of our natural bush, and we hope each group takes these lessons home with them.

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  • The Natural Environment

Hostility Creek is a valley field, surrounded by natural hills and bush. Although quite dry in the summer, winter storms transform it into a treacherous mud-scape, adding an extra element of excitement to our games. In contrast, Isolation Hill is situated on the top of a ridge, surrounded on all sides by pastoral farmland. The scenery functions as backdrop to play, creating a real air of adventure out in what feels like the Kiwi outback. Paintball games rely on the natural landscape of their fields, and we boast two of the best fields in Wellington.

Thank you for a wonderful experience - we all had a blast! The staff are great  - patient, kind, humorous, and the safety briefing was clear. Plus the environment is staggeringly beautiful. We will definitely be back.
— Anita
 Incorporating the natural environment.

Incorporating the natural environment.

  • Maintenance and Mitigation

Part of what makes our fields so great is our maintenance work, which involves creating man-made bases and barriers of mostly natural material, digging trenches, removing gorse, and most importantly minimizing hazards. Although we can’t make our fields risk free, we have installed steps, added gravel, and created barriers to help make our fields safer. These elements are introduced carefully, so they don’t detract from the environment.

“Thank you. It all went very well, it looked very popular. Thank you for washing down the court afterwards.
— Leanne. - After our portable shooting range visited Ngaio School.

SUSTAINABILITY:

  • Leave Only Footprints

We recycle everything we possibly can, from our paintboxes to customer rubbish - we catch our boss in the trash on the regular, sorting cardboards from plastics! Where possible, we also try to upcycle. Most of our storage boxes are surplus army ammo tins, and the Medic Hut at Isolation Hill is made out of upcycled plywood and toughened glass from a storefront that closed down in Auckland. Isolation Hill is run on almost entirely renewable energy, through the use of solar panels recently installed, and plans are underway to make Hostility Creek self-sufficient as well. Perhaps most importantly, our paintballs are biodegradable, meaning that they are non-toxic and dissolve over time without harming the environment.

 Rubbish found under the floor at Isolation Hill following our renovations. Some of it is over 30 years old.

Rubbish found under the floor at Isolation Hill following our renovations. Some of it is over 30 years old.

SOCIAL

  • Who Comes To Us

Empowerment is at the core of what we do at Paintball Corp, which makes us perfect  hosts for team building events. Paintball is a team sport that involves a lot of communication and fast-paced thinking, which naturally creates team bonding. Our crew work to bring teams together, facilitating good communication skills, bonding and trust between team members. This works well for workplaces, schools, and families alike.

We particularly enjoy hosting people who might otherwise not have had the chance to experience paintball. Discounts are made available to low-income families and charity groups, and we offer a group discount to lower-decile schools.

  • Who We Employ

As well as helping the community, we are all about helping our crew. Over the years, we’ve had a lot of students join our family as a stepping stone towards their future careers. The flexible schedule means each crew member can work the hours they want, and still be able to study full-time. The experience gained working with kids on field has also helped some of our crew gain further employment as teachers and caretakers, their intended professions.

 A casual team photo after a photoshoot at Isolatino HIll  Top: Jessie Nicolas, Nathan Cain, Keith Hunter, Peter Cain Bottom: Rebecca and Richard Renfrew

A casual team photo after a photoshoot at Isolatino HIll

Top: Jessie Nicolas, Nathan Cain, Keith Hunter, Peter Cain
Bottom: Rebecca and Richard Renfrew

More surprising benefits of a job with Paintball Corp include increased physical strength, stamina, confidence, self-worth, and improved mental health. We are proud to watch each and every team member grow, and to be able to support them on this journey.

  • Work Start Programme

Despite our strong team ethic and flexibility, some days our workload places too much strain on our small crew. We are also always looking to do good things for our community, so we combined the two and came up with a work start programme to assist us with our school holiday programmes. We have started working with Hutt Valley High School to find candidates that can begin their training during the year, and who would be keen to keep working over our busy period this summer. The programme introduces young people to a social working environment, and provides us with an excellent base of excitable new crew members to help relieve our crew’s workload. However, unlike other work-experience programmes, we are paying our interns (much to the surprise of Hutt Valley High School). If they do what we do, they deserve to be paid! Students can spend their holidays out in the fresh air having fun, while gaining work experience.

  • Partnering With Local Charities

Paintball Corp is a proud sponsor of Taka Trust. We donate vouchers every year towards their annual charity golf competition, each voucher valued at over $600. Through the Trust, we also extend our reach into the community, our partnership allowing us to offer our school package at 40% off our already discounted price. The Trust also sends us 12 in-need children from local schools each holiday to participate in our holiday programme for free. We know that holidays are a hard time for some families, and we want to do what we can.

 $30,000 in vouchers given out to schools in July 2013

$30,000 in vouchers given out to schools in July 2013

Other aspects of our charity outreach include donating vouchers weekly, helping raise money for different causes, and supporting local fundraisers Day to day, we aim to be as supportive of our players as possible, catering for all sorts of needs and disabilities.

“Thank you. We had a few tears and the odd panic attack, but overall our group loved it. They proudly showed off their little round bruises and talked non-stop about the experience.
Your staff were great and really helped out some of our more delicate flowers.
I would like to commend the staff because one of our group suffers from extreme anxiety and didn’t cope well after being shot in the hand. Great thing was we all calmed her down and after she regrouped, she got back out there.
That was a great success!
Once I forget how much it hurts being shot, I would probably be up for it again.
My daughter asked to have a Mexican standoff with me. After I hit her multiple times, she said ‘I thought you would take it easy on me.’
I replied, ‘You forgot how competitive I am.’
She also shot me three times too in the same place on my arm!
Great experience.
— Jeena

ECONOMIC

  • Healthy Businesses help others which helps themselves.

Building relationships with other businesses has been key to the growth of our business. The strong inter-business relationships we have created helps both us and our partners grow, through cross promotion, joint events, and support when needed. When the owner of Tag Paintball (now a subsidiary brand of Paintball Corp) felt he couldn’t continue running the business for personal reasons, he came to us to sell as a friend. We took the business off his hands to relieve him, and were proud to turn it into the thriving community it is today.

As important as it is to have a business mentor, it’s just as important to cultivate relationships with other businesses so you can all grow together. You can figure out collectively when things need work and help each other mutually. We have deals in place  with other business in our industry and work together to develop each other.

  • Within the community

Having a good relationship with the community results in loyal, devoted customers. We are pleased to help out where we can, donating prizes to charity raffles, sending out vouchers weekly to schools, kindergartens, youth groups and women’s refuges, amongst other organisations.

 Our shooting range attending Birchville school in Upper Hutt

Our shooting range attending Birchville school in Upper Hutt

Our portable shooting range is a fantastic way to fundraise, offering a safe, enclosed environment for kids to play paintball while helping the school itself. An estimated $10, 000 was raised this way for schools last year alone.

CULTURAL SENSITIVITY:

Gender Diversity

Paintball has traditionally been a male dominated sport, which is why it might be surprising to find out that half of Paintball Corp’s staff are, in fact, women. It is an absolute myth that women can’t handle playing paintball, and our staff prove this daily - these days, they barely flinch when hit (although please don’t shoot them when they’re reffing. They’re not afraid to shoot back).

 Photo from our $11 day at Hostility Creek

Photo from our $11 day at Hostility Creek

Having women on our team has helped us to become an inclusive business, by encouraging other female players to step into what is seen as a male-dominated space. In the past, a large part of our target market consisted of boys’ birthday parties and stag dos, but we are slowly seeing this change - and when ladies play, they play hard! We routinely see parties of 15 and 16 year old girls come through for an epic girls day, and our female staff are more than happy to encourage them by grabbing a gun and joining in the fun.

Asides from smashing gender stereotypes, our 50/50 split commits us to supporting not just women, but everyone in the workplace. Each member of our paintball family brings different strengths and weaknesses to the table, and we pride ourselves on supporting each other in every situation. Paintball reffing is a challenging vocation due to the dangerous nature of the sport, and it is important to us that each crew member feels fully capable of protecting themselves and others on and off field. As such, it’s an empowering job, and we are proud to facilitate the growth of self-confidence and authority in our crew, men and women alike.

  • Maori and New Zealand Sign Language

Here at Paintball Corp, we acknowledge that while English is the most used language in New Zealand, it isn’t the only one. Our staff members can speak various levels of Spanish, German, Japanese and Tamil between them, but our main focus is for all crew to be able to communicate in Te Reo Maori and NZSL. As a Kiwi business, it is important for us to keep our culture alive, and we dream of being able to give our safety briefings in both English and NZSL. We consider it essential to be able to give briefings in all the official languages of New Zealand. Whilst being able to give a safety briefing in our national languages is a great goal, simply knowing parts of our languages and adapting them into our working environment is pivotal in reviving them across New Zealand. NZSL plays a crucial role in how we run our safety briefings and communicate on field, as although it’s a language on its own, it’s easy to understand it’s translation and helps us communicate with other groups that struggle with English. Talking across the room discreetly with dozens of loud customers is also an awesome bonus to learning these languages and we find the more we apply them the more value we are getting out of learning them and integrating them into our business.

We open and close every staff meeting with a karakia and whakatauki, and incorporate as much basic Maori into everyday conversations as possible. Two thirds of our Team have also learnt, or are currently learning NZSL. Paintball Corp already has its own sign name, and two of our crew have names given by the deaf community - Richard “Popcorn” Renfrew, and Rebecca “Hair Clips” Renfrew. The end goal is for all crew to be able to deliver briefings in three languages each - and we are well on our way!

  • Cultural Inclusiveness

As an inclusive business, Paintball Corp hosts groups from all corners of the world, of all faiths and religions. We aim to cater for the needs of all our customers, and to be as sensitive to different cultures as possible - our paintballs are even 100% halal!

Paintball Corp is proud to celebrate upcoming cultural events, from adding a mihi to our safety briefings in honour of Maori Language Week, hosting a paintball game in Indian cultural dress for Diwale, to offering a prize for the loudest shirt on loud shirt day (supporting the deaf community). We are also open for suggestions on cultural events we can support - celebrate your heritage and join the fun!