Man's hat collection targeted for good cause
Southland man Bruce Fraser has collected hundreds of hats over the years, and now he wants to put them to good use.
Fiordland's gusty winds snatch hats from the heads of many unwary Milford cruise passengers and kayakers, and they often wash ashore and get caught up in the driftwood.
Fraser, a bus driver from Te Anau who regularly goes to Milford as part of his work, often walks along the coastline picking up rubbish and the stray tourist hats.
He has stockpiled the hats at home over the years and given away at least 200, but he has another couple of hundred he now wants to put to good use.
Most of the hats were perfectly good, some new, and the "frugal man of Scottish heritage" couldn't bear to throw them away, he said.
Having been a volunteer on a Fiordland Coastal Cleanup operation two years ago, with tonnes of rubbish collected along the coastline by dozens of people, Fraser recently decided his hats could help fund future Fiordland Coastal Cleanups.
Every second year, volunteers travel to remote parts of either Fiordland or Stewart Island to pick up manmade ocean rubbish and ship it ashore for recycling or disposal.
Each expedition collects up to 20 tonnes of manmade waste, a mixture of lost fishing gear and global ocean litter.
Sponsors and supporters, including fishing companies, Environment Southland and helicopter and shipping companies fund most of the project, but the expeditions still had a funding shortfall, Fraser said.
That's where his hats come in.
He has set up an auction on Trade Me, under Flotsam Rycycled Hats, where the public will be sent one of his hats if they donate $20 or more to the Fiordland Coastal Cleanup.
Cleaning up the beautiful Fiordland coastline was a good cause, he believed.
"The people that do it make a real difference. I think it's a terrific thing to get that rubbish off the beautiful Fiordland coast."
- The Southland Times