The Piki Toi
The Piki Toi project was initially a response to social problems identified in the publication Inside the Cup, a document co-designed and produced by community support organisation Lifewise for Auckland Council, which researched begging, or ‘hustling’ as it’s known on the street, in the central city. Lifewise was exploring the use of creativity to find alternatives to hustling, and was at the time establishing a unit for social-enterprise projects for the homeless in Auckland City. This was led by Sophia Beatson and her team of co-designers, all of whom had lived experience of homelessness. They were employing new strategies for introducing and managing entrepreneurial activities and opportunities for people with lived experience of homelessness, and were open to trying new approaches. The everyday collective laboratory from Auckland’s Unitec Institute of Technology approached Sophia and her team with the concept of using an inexpensive product called a ‘piki,’ a paper object in the size and shape of a feather, and adorned with art sourced from the street community, as a product to sell. The piki could be sold by people on the street as an alternative to hustling. This idea was based on the findings of Inside the Cup, but was conceived with little knowledge of the reality of homelessness on the streets of Auckland; however, Sophia and her team saw enough merit in the idea to support further research and a street trial.