Waiheke is tops over clean-up

20:22, Sep 08 2009
KNZB launch
ON THE TRASH TRAIL: “Zero Hero” shows Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye and environment minister Nick Smith how to clean up Waiheke’s beaches.

Waiheke got high praise last Friday when it was hailed as ideal for kicking off a campaign to clean up litter.

The tribute came from Environment minister Nick Smith who was on the island for the country’s Keep New Zealand Beautiful week.

A blessing by Waiheke’s kaumatua Wally Manahi launched the campaign at Matiatia, which marked the beginning of the biggest single annual coastal clean up event in the country.

Lake Taupo and three visitor destinations on the West Coast were chosen alongside Waiheke for this year’s New Zealand Spring Clean.

On the island, the campaign has involved school children, community groups, businesses and individuals who have scanned kilometres of coastline to collect plastic bottles, old tyres, and other waste.

They were helped along by “Zero Hero”, an unidentifiable mascot who appeared at different locations to lend a hand.

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Waiheke campaign co-ordinator Jenness Reeve says work at accessible beaches such as Palm Beach resulted in “just a few half-bags” being collected over the weekend.

“But on a less accessible beach on Sunday, kayakers collected nine full rubbish bags along with a car battery - and a wheelie bin,” she says.

Mrs Reeve says the “rubbish mountain” collected during the clean up will be open to the public this Friday in Onetangi Sports Park at 4pm.

Meanwhile, Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye says at least 12 of the island’s residents have environmental doctorates.

“That’s more than at treasury. Waiheke is a real hub for environmental issues,” she says.

But at the launch, Nick Smith warned people to think about the Rugby World Cup in 2011.

“With over one million people visiting, we need to lift our act and match up to the 100 Percent Pure brand.”

Keep New Zealand Beautiful is a non-profit organization that has been working with communities to reduce waste and beautify towns and cities across the country since 1979.

Chairman Tony Rush says, “It is the impact of our actions that we leave. The places where we work live and play that we want to be clean, tidy, beautiful, and safe.”

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