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Talking Trash: Our Latest News

Fridge on Medlands Beach

Hi there,

Winter! Big swells, heavy seas, strong cold winds, rain and snow. These conditions sound like a madman big wave surfer’s dream, but also help to illustrate the dynamic of trash floating around in our marine environment. Persistent winds and high seas push marine debris onto the beaches along New Zealand’s west coast, and extra rainfall puts pressure on stormwater systems in our cities and towns nationwide, flooding our waterways with trash from our gutters and streets.

As always, we’re working on projects to sustain and protect our coastlines. Obviously the health of our waterways is linked to that of the coast: with the swollen winter waters more rubbish is dragged from littered riverbanks and out to sea. It’s a good time to think about cleaning-up our rivers and to make preparations for more epic coastal clean-ups in the summer. And that’s exactly what we’re doing.

AECOM Motutapu Island Coastal Clean-up

On Sunday the 30th of May we took 80 volunteers from AECOM out to the beautiful Motutapu Island to pick up rubbish from its coastlines. Following our clean-up event on Aotea/Great Barrier Island earlier this year, AECOM contacted us with a large group of employees wanting to give something back to the islands of the Hauraki Gulf that we all love, and together we achieved amazing results. Volunteers spent the day scouring the beaches of this unique island in stunning, almost summer-like weather.

As we’ve found in the past, disposable plastic products made up a large portion of the trash we picked up. Around half of the waste collected from this sparsely inhabited island was made up of plastic bottles, jandals, bottle caps and cigarette lighters that come from the streets, waterways and boats of metropolitan Auckland. The event was another huge success – the crew managed to remove around 5,000 litres or 350 kg of trash from beaches on both the east and west coasts of the island. Check out the event page for photos of the day. If you or your organisation would like to take part in an event like this, just email us to enquire and for further information.

FRESH Avon River Clean-up On

Saturday the 22nd of May, a group of passionate students from 9 different Christchurch schools pulled off an extraordinary event: ‘FRESH’. Their group – Youth River Action Christchurch – coordinated around 140 people at this event and removed over 200kg of rubbish from the banks of the Avon River. Some of the Sustainable Coastlines crew traveled down in our truck Black Beauty to assist. On the way (and in the middle of the night), Black Beauty was stopped in her tracks with mechanical problems, and we were stranded about an hour out of Wellington. Luckily Pit Stop came to the rescue and got us moving again, sending down the right gear and organising CPA Spares in Petone to fit them to the truck. Wall Place Panelbeaters in Porirua has also helped to keep the old beast looking her best. Thanks guys.

On the road again, we crossed Cook Strait (all thanks to Bluebridge, cheers!) and arrived in Christchurch to help out at FRESH. The event was a massive success and it was great to see so many motivated people getting out there and taking action to look after the places we love. The effort they put in and the passion they showed in organising this event was awesome and we’re confident there will be opportunities to work together again soon.

To all of our volunteers: this award is for you

After being named as a finalist in ‘Protecting our Coasts and Oceans’ category in the recent Green Ribbon Awards, drum roll please…we were announced as winner! Walking up on stage to accept the award, we could do nothing but acknowledge those who have supported us or attended any of our events in the past. This award is for you. Check out the event page for photos from the evening.

The awards, held at the Beehive on Thursday 3 June, are a Ministry for the Environment initiative that for the past 20 years have honoured individuals, organisations and communities for their outstanding contributions to protecting New Zealand’s environment. This year, 143 nominations were received across 12 categories: reflecting the broad range of environmental challenges that New Zealand faces and the extraordinary range of actions taken to address them. Congratulations to the supreme winner on the night: Kaharoa Kokako Trust, for their impressive predator control efforts and their significant role in the national kokako recovery programme. Nice work!

Sustainable Coastlines Charity Ball at the Hilton

It gives us great pleasure to announce The Sustainable Coastlines Charity Ball, to be held on Saturday 18 September at the Hilton in downtown Auckland. Those of you who attended our Aotea/Great Barrier Island event earlier this year will remember the Hilton’s kind support in offering a superb location for our early morning departure, and it’s great to be working with them again.

The evening promises to be one of glamour, world-class entertainment, mouth-watering food and drinks, and generally feeling great about giving something back to the coastlines we love. Aotearoa’s leading concert pianist – Michael Houstoun – will start the evening off in style while Hollie Smith – the sensational singer / songwriter – will play an amazing acoustic set.

All ticket sales, along with an art auction during the evening, will help raise funds for our ongoing work on projects to sustain and protect our coastlines. Shortly we’ll be announcing a live band to add to the line-up, further details about the ball, and will be making tickets available for purchase on our website. We’ll be in touch again soon with more information on what is sure to be an amazing night.

Emily in LA

Recently Emily Penn – our Operations Manager – waved goodbye to Auckland and boarded Reef Shipping’s Southern Lily: a container ship headed for the Pacific Islands. This was the first leg of her ocean voyage to Los Angeles, and after 7 days at sea she arrived in Samoa and jumped aboard the Cap Tapaga, a German freight ship bound for the U. S. of A. Three weeks later she arrived in LA, and got straight to work with 5 Gyres and Algalita Marine Research Foundation, carrying out important research and field work studying the extent and impacts of marine pollution.

Emily will be sending us updates from the field as she continues to work with organisations and researchers overseas. We’ll be posting these on our news blog, so keep an eye out for updates here and through our Facebook page.

We’re looking for a web developer

We’re currently undertaking the massive task of redesigning and redeveloping our website, and are looking for a little help from our friends… We have a web designer and digital art director on board, and we are now looking for someone with solid experience in developing websites and setting-up CMS platforms. If you can help, or know anyone who can, please email our Marketing Manager Camden Howitt at camden@sustainablecoastlines.org

Upcoming events

Thanks to a generous grant from The New Zealand Lottery Grants Board, we’re currently planning a huge event aiming for an even bigger impact: we’re getting up to 3000 school kids involved for a clean-up effort in early December this year. We’ll be announcing further details closer to the time, including the opportunity for schools, businesses and volunteers to get involved in this epic event.