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Member Profile

Donald Nordeng

home Te Aro, Wellington
work CEO, BioGro >
directions_car Car-free for 30 years
event November 2017
trending_up 5+ Mevo Trips/Week
commute Walking

Donald has been living the car-free ethos for over 30 years - ever since his last year of high school. He keeps himself busy as the CEO of BioGro, and capturing his career of Organics into an upcoming book: Organic to the Core. Look out for it in bookshelves near you soon. The planet, how we treat it and how we use it is close to Donald’s heart and he embodies this with everything he does. His transport is no exception.

Donald and his daughter standing on the street in Wellington.

Five years after he first gave up his car, Donald moved to Japan, where public transportation is free and always on time. Owning a car for the few trips he needed a year made no logical sense. Fast forward to 2015, Donald moved to New Zealand - and despite New Zealand being the third-largest car-owning society globally - he didn’t want to join the crowd.

New Zealand’s public transport still has a lot of growing to do to meet Donald’s expectations - and to measure up to the standard in other countries. So to fill the void, he now drives a bit more often - making good use of the Mevo App. Trips to his daughter’s extracurricular activities are high on this list, along with visiting friends in the outer suburbs and catching a flight at the airport. Some weekends, he’ll take a Mevo for a full day to tick off a few errands.

“I think Mevo has a fantastic user experience.”

Donald is not a planner - something that Mevo helps support. The fact he can pick up a car when he wants enables him to do what he wants on his own time. Donald hates the planning and scheduled return time of regular rental cars. Not only that, but the time he would have to spend filling out the same form every time is a distant memory - now all he has to do is open his app and hit reserve.

“It just works like life does - I might be picking my daughter up from swimming and then we decide to go out for dinner and I don’t have to worry about when I need to get the car back.”

Donald isn’t only saving the environment every day he chooses to be car-free, but he’s also saving his wallet and his time. From his own research, it would cost him $62,000 to own a $35,000 car for 5 years. This is aside from all the time he would lose servicing everything to do with a car; those unexpected fixes, washing it, finding parking, managing insurance, WOFs and services, filling it with petrol - the list goes on.

Donald thinks sharing is the way forward, not only for cars but for many household objects. He wants to challenge you to think more about what you could be doing to share more resources - he even wrote a recent article on the topic. His vision of sharing aligns closely with the mission behind Mevo. By sharing more we can make better use of space and make cities more liveable for our residents.

Donald and his daughter getting into a Mevo.

Donald has high hopes for Wellington’s transport and the growth of Mevo. Continuing to grow the suburbs in the Flex Zone, and aligning Mevo and other services around public transport are ideas he considers high-priority. Neighbours sharing cars through services like Mevo is also a way for those who can’t go without a car to replace or avoid purchasing a second one.

Their most memorable Mevo trip was a visit to Staglands. There was a delivery truck behind for most of the drive on the narrow, nearly single lane road - and they had to drive carefully. In the end, they made it safely and had a fantastic day - taking over 500 photos during day.

Since Staglands has zero mobile connectivity, Donald was briefly concerned that he wouldn’t be able to lock the car. Thankfully, the Mevo app automatically switches to bluetooth and he was able to use it without any issues.

“One of the biggest issues in reducing my carbon footprint is the amount of energy I use either in transport or at home. We can’t all downsize our houses or get rid of our cars. Just like how we budget and spend money, we can look at ways we can minimise energy use. Whether that is in reducing food waste, or wasted trips to the grocery, or too many loads of laundry, small actions taken by each of us can lead to massive shifts in consumption. I don’t need to redo my entire life to make an impact on my carbon footprint. Choosing a few more local kiwi grown organic dairy, apple, beef, lamb, kiwifruit and wine choices can help too!”


Nina McKenna

Nina McKenna

Posted October 04, 2021


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