Bikes at sẏd

Working together with our rakatahi towards waste minimisation

Each year at least 500 bicycles go into landfill. Southern Youth Development works with rakatahi to collect bicycles from the landfill to restore, recycle and gift them back out to people who need them. This programme has expanded to have after school sessions twice a week to cater for two different age groups.

All rakatahi involved in this programme gain lifelong skills by learning how to maintain and care for a bicycle. We teach everything through learning how to use tools, maintaining and understanding the mechanisms of a bicycle.


This programme is only possible because of generous funding from the Dunedin City Council Waste Minimisation team. Whakawhetai ki a koe mo to tautoko.

The Tuesday early afternoon sessions targets 12-18 year olds and the Tuesday late afternoon sessions targets 18-24.

The focus points for the younger group is on both hard and soft skill building, mentoring, safe tool use and workshop etiquette.

The focus for the older group (who are primarily tertiary students) includes the above elements, but also promotes pro-social work in the community, and focuses on transport autonomy to promote cycling as a mode of transport for people within the age group.

This programme is part of the wider community’s efforts to reduce waste by lessening the impact on the environment as the bicycles are either revitalised or recycled into scrap metal.


This programme encourages the use of alternative transport avenues that has long lasting health benefits through exercise and waste reduction.

Feedback from rakatahi at the completion of restoring bicycles is predominately about the sense of accomplishment that they have recreated something new. 

Since 2018, the project had helped divert 1,100 bicycles from landfill and in 2022 alone, engaged over 130 young people.

Join us in this fulfilling programme that lessens the impact of waste on our environment

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Frequently Asked Questions

How are the bicycles recycled?
All bicycles are rescued from landfill, picked up by our rakatahi and youth workers and repaired and recycled. Our rakatahi learn new skills and we support their passion for better environmental systems. 

Are all bicycles safety checked before leaving?
Our dedicated Youth Worker for this programme is a mechanical engineer and an experienced bike enthusiast. While young people are working on the bicycles, they are supervised by our youth worker and each bicycle will be checked over and approved by our bicycle Youth Worker before being given to a member of the community. Once bicycles leave sẏd premises, they are the responsibility of the new owner.

I need a particular type of bicycle, how can I get that?
We have no guarantees of availability of any bicycle that is requested, whether that is a type of bicycle (BMX, balance bike etc.) or height. Referrals are therefore a request with no timeframe attached to them, and our team of rakatahi will do their best to target specific sizes for the referral. We can usually take around 2 weeks from referral to having the bicycle available, but there may be additional delays that are outside our control.

What happens when my children have outgrown their bicycles?
Bring them back to us and swap them out for ones in their size for free! We strongly encourage this option as this means that bicycles stay out of landfill and we have less work to do on the old bicycle to get it in usable condition for the next person. It's a win/win!

My bicycle was damaged/stolen. Can you help with that?
We strongly encourage getting back in touch with sẏd. In some cases we will be able to replace or swap out the bicycle. Depending on the damage, we may refer to an external agency better equipped to support the facilitation of repair. You can get in touch with us by emailing

I cannot afford a bicycle, are you able to help?
Absolutely. There are a variety of ways for us to be able to do this for members of the community who are unable to purchase a bicycle for whatever reason. Get in touch with us via email if you have any questions.

Do you have any new bicycles?
Short answer is no - we have absolutely no control over what condition bicycles come to us, and it is unlikely that there will be any unused bicycles that come to us. Extremely poor condition bicycles are scrapped and recycled, so the only bicycles that are given to the community are ones that are likely secondhand.

Do you have any e-bicycles?
At this stage, it is extremely unlikely that we will have e-bicycles available to the public. We expect that this may happen in the future, and we'll be sure to let the community know if these become available.

Do you give helmets and other safety equipment as well?
Yes, we are able to give helmets and other safety equipment thanks to generous funding from the Dunedin City Council and other supporters. If you are not in need of a safety equipment, please let us know as soon as possible so we can make sure that these get to people in need.
If you would like to donate new helmets to sẏd, please let us know by emailing

How are you funded?
Southern Youth Development is generously funded by the Dunedin City Council through the Waste Minimisation team. We also receive koha/donations from a variety of sources, particularly for our safety equipment. If you're interested in making a donation to this programme, please get in touch with us by emailing