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Kiwis unite to launch new coast care movement

Media Release 22/11/10

Kiwis unite to launch new coast care movement

This December, a group of Kiwi charities are coming together to co-ordinate a series of ambitious coastal clean-ups around Aotearoa/New Zealand.

These large flagship events signal the birth of a new, collaborative and nationwide movement that the organisers envisage becoming an integral and long-term feature of New Zealand beach culture.

The event series kicks off with a huge clean-up of Rangitoto Island- up to a staggering 2000 people - who will clean up rubbish that flows out from Auckland City on a daily basis.

Sustainable Coastlines co-Founder and LYC North Island Events Director Sam Judd, explains the situation on Rangitoto Island: “We have been out there surveying the area extensively with the Waitemata Harbour Cleanup Trust. Every new tide brings rubbish from the city. For example, in 2 hours, 10 volunteers picked up 78 parking ticket receipts which are made of plastic.”

Sustainable Coastlines co-Founder and LYC North Island Events Director Sam Judd, states “We are aware that there are hundreds of small groups, and thousands of individuals across the country, who care for their local beaches. We also know these people want to make a difference, but sometimes despair at the magnitude of the task in front of them. Critical mass is important. The idea behind Love your Coast is that a simple activity, such as picking up rubbish from the coast, when done on a large scale, will foster ongoing coastline protection in our communities.”

“This new movement aims to both inspire and empower newcomers to love their own coast, and unite those who are already working in this way, but who are unconnected with each other and who may need assistance getting their message out,” he says.

Individuals, schools, companies and community organisations will be participating in these events and will be encouraged to continue to take ownership of their local beaches on a long-term basis. Resources such as the Love your Coast event planning website and audit results will be freely shared and everyone’s involvement will be congratulated and promoted.

Says Judd, “It is an important and serious issue, but we don’t want to make this another grim cause; we want to show that taking care of the coast can be fun. It is about celebrating something we love, rather than getting down about problems.”

“The first event (Rangitoto Island on Monday the 6th of December) involves a boat trip for students, many of whom have never been outside of their local suburb; while the following events will involve a celebration, with live music at the conclusion,” he says.

Sustainable Coastlines, along with The Sir Peter Blake Trust and The Waitemata Harbour Cleanup Trust, have proven that rubbish flows from the storm drains and waterways of Auckland City on a daily basis. A significant amount of this debris is transported by the prevailing southwesterly winds and heavily affects Rangitoto Island, which is directly in the firing line of the daily flow. As an uninhabited island, the location clearly illustrates how human activity is impacting our coastal environment.

“Several hundred school students are already locked-in, and we’re looking for as many volunteers as possible to help out. Thanks to the incredibly generous, and ongoing support of Fullers Ferries and the old Auckland City Council, the transfer to Rangitoto will be free for everyone who wishes to become involved.”

Key collaborators at this stage include: Te Wai Pounamu Foundation, Sustainable Coastlines, The Keep New Zealand Beautiful Society, The Sir Peter Blake Trust, The Department of Corrections, Forest and Bird, Youth River Action Christchurch and The Waitemata Harbour Clean-up Trust, but organisers are inviting all the smaller groups and individuals who love the coast to get together under this new flag.

The Te Wai Pounamu Foundation have had a big impact on the West Coast of the South Island through their “Day at the Beach” programme. Co-founder Louis Brown stated, ”Attempting to launch such an ambitious, inclusive and far reaching movement is a big challenge for a small group of young people, but we feel we are in a good position to make it work. Between Sustainable Coastlines and us alone we have co-ordinated more than 9,000 people to remove over 80 tonnes of waste from our coast during the last few years. Keep NZ Beautiful with their annual Clean Up New Zealand Week and The Sir Peter Blake Trust with their “Care for our Coast” programme have been the major players in this space too, so a group effort is the logical next step. ”

The Sir Peter Blake Trust programme manager Hannah Prior states, “New Zealand has a diverse marine environment and a coastline that’s valued and enjoyed by millions. However, Sir Peter Blake recognised that this marine environment was deteriorating and decided to do something about it. Today, the Sir Peter Blake Trust is committed to connecting New Zealanders with their local marine environment and the issues facing it, and to encouraging and inspiring them to take action. Through the Trust’s Care for our Coast programme over 900 clean-ups have been completed and over 690,000 pieces of rubbish collected from our beaches, lakes and waterways to date – but there is still a lot of work to be done. Collaboration between environmental organisations, schools, business and the community will be crucial to the on-going health of New Zealand’s coastline and marine environment, and the Sir Peter Blake Trust is committed to encouraging and inspiring New Zealanders to Love Your Coast.”

Keep New Zealand Beautiful spokesperson Mary Brown said, “Taking care of our precious coast is something that every single person in Aotearoa has the ability to embrace. The uniqueness of our country’s coastline is something that Kiwi’s sometimes take for granted. Keep New Zealand Beautiful is right behind the Love Your Coast movement.”

All the rubbish collected will be audited by PD workers through a partnership that has been organised with the Department of Corrections, and the results will provide information that will help students develop an understanding of the challenges of coastline protection. Participating schools will have access to free educational resources from the Sir Peter Blake Trust, as well as a range of other documentation and equipment available through the website for use in this and future clean-up events.

The event schedule is as follows:

Auckland: Monday 6th December. A large-scale coastal cleanup of Rangitoto Island with free ferry transfer made possible by Fullers Ferries and Auckland City Council. E-mail auckland@loveyourcoast.org to register your interest.
Wellington: Tuesday 7th December. A large-scale coastal cleanup of the harbor and the South Coast. Email wellington@loveyourcoast.org to register your interest.
Christchurch: Wednesday 8th December. A large-scale coastal cleanup of the Heathcote and Avon Rivers, the Estuary, and New Brighton. Email christchurch@loveyourcoast.org to register your interest.
West Coast: Thursday 9th December. A large-scale series of coastal clean-up between Karamea and Franz Josef, involving schools, organisations and all members of the community. Email westcoast@loveyourcoast.org to register your interest.

Further information: www.loveyourcoast.org


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