on May 11, 20

Celebrating turning 21 without the 'things'

By Janisha Nathu

A 21st birthday is known as a momentous occasion that can be celebrated in many ways. Traditionally, many people mark the occasion with their family and friends, surrounded by food and presents.

This wasn’t quite the event I wanted to hold, especially with fears of the pandemic beginning to stir in early March.

For my 21st, I decided to say no to ‘things’ and instead set up a charitiable gift registry for the Common Unity Project Aotearoa (CUPA).

I first heard of CUPA late last year while interning at The Good Registry as part of my university studies in Communication.

I had interviewed Tania Austin from CUPA as part of a charity introduction series that was appearing on The Good Registry website. While I was interviewing her, it was clear how passionate she was about the charity and how diverse the community was.

At the end of the interview, I told her I would bring a friend along to check out the space — and I did just that…well kind of. I spent one Saturday morning volunteering there, meeting some of the regular volunteers and seeing first hand the friendly and vibrant space.

After that morning I knew CUPA was the charity I would choose for my 21st registry.

Together, my friends, family and I managed to raise $402, and everyone felt so much joy for doing it. A few even decided that they would pledge their birthdays in the future!

It was incredible to see the people I care about go all in on something that meant so much to me. Some people I didn’t even expect to donate gave a little purely because it was a good thing to do.

CUPA have done incredible things to support and to continue nourishing the Hutt Valley community from the inside out during this pandemic. Especially while we’re living in these uncertain times, a little bit of kindness really does go a long way.

I highly recommend pledging your next event to a charity that resonates with you. It’s a super simple way of spreading kindness, joy and doing good.


Anyone from small kids to big businesses can show they care with donations to good causes instead of unnecessary gifts — using charitable gift cards or charitable registries:

  •  Create your own Good Registry for a special event (like Janisha did) and ask friends to donate to a charity you choose.
  • Give Good Gift Cards instead of traditional gifts, to show people you are thinking about them, and enable them to donate to charities they care about.

We have 65 partner charities that our Good Sorts can choose to support.

You can hear from other good kiwis and businesses who have used Good Registries and Good Gift Cards to give more simply, sustainably and kindly, on our inspirational Giving Wall.

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