Empowering our tamariki to protect the moana | Sustainable Coastlines

Celebrate Kiwi kids taking action to protect our moana this Seaweek

[Press release] Kiwi charity Sustainable Coastlines is raising funds to educate children on ocean restoration.


Seaweek is Aotearoa’s annual national week devoted to the ocean, and this year, it’s encouraging Kiwis to ‘connect to the sea’. Heeding the call is environmental charity Sustainable Coastlines, which is raising funds for its school education programme, to continue inspiring tamariki to restore the mauri of our moana. Launching its Double Your Donation campaign, Sustainable Coastlines is encouraging donations during Seaweek, as any donations made between 5 and 13 March will be doubled by supporting businesses. 

Sustainable Coastlines’ Litter Intelligence Programme Manager Shawn Elise Tierney urges ocean lovers to take up the appeal, as the positive impact on our tamariki and our moana will be doubled.

“We hold a great responsibility to educate future generations and inspire them to look after Papatūānuku”, says Shawn Elise, “which is why we developed our Litter Intelligence Education Programme (LIEP) to inspire tamariki to look after their local coastline and inform better decisions for a world without litter.”

One of the most rewarding parts of our education programme, according to Shawn Elise, is hearing the success stories from the field, about Kiwi kids taking action, being innovative and implementing the skills the charity has taught them to make a positive difference. Waiheke’s Te Huruhi School, for example, switched problematic ‘compostable’ single-use cups for reusable ones, after discovering that the ‘eco’ cups used at their school were actually PLA (polylactic acid) lined.

“We need to do more than clean up rubbish on the beach: we need to educate future generations to be part of the solution that prevents rubbish from leaking into the environment in the first place”. LIEP is the education programme that does just that — giving teachers and students skills and capabilities in data collection, environmental monitoring, leadership, problem-solving, citizen science, community engagement, influencing techniques, presentation delivery, storytelling and more.

According to the latest World Ocean Assessment report, the ocean is our biggest ally in mitigating climate change, and understanding our impact on it is the first step to protecting it. Litter Intelligence was created to collect critical data on the impact of litter on our coastlines. “We cannot improve what we do not measure, which is why our Litter Intelligence education programme and associated data is so important. We know that data empowers action and we want to empower our rangatahi with data to take action for the places that are important to them”, says Shawn Elise.

Sustainable Coastlines intern, Nakita, gives a ‘Love Your Coast’ presentation to children from Hobsonville Primary in 2021.

“Thanks to the generous matching donors for our Double Your Donation campaign, we’re well on our way to meet our $20,000 goal, to help fund our educational work”. 

The companies involved are APL, Hirepool, Pit Stop, Hyundai NZ and WaterSmart. They are all New Zealand–owned businesses who understand the urgency in looking after our environment by educating future generations and are putting their money behind this epic cause. 

The funds raised through the Double Your Donation campaign will allow the charity to fund LIEP and continue inspiring groups like Te Iti Kahurangi Kāhui Ako, a community of 10 schools, with varying age groups, in Onehunga that has committed to looking after the local coastline that unites the students along the Manukau Harbour. Or Opoutere School, where LIEP inspired two students to hone in on their shared hobby, skateboarding. The students are now moulding skateboard deck rails out of recycled plastics, and even looking to market their product in the future. And Maraetai Beach School, whose entire environmental group wrote and produced a rap to highlight the pollution problem in Aotearoa. 

“These success stories are truly inspiring, and with your help we can continue motivating our tamariki to take action. So please, help us out this Seaweek — $5, $50, $500, whatever you want to donate helps us to fulfill our mission to connect people to nature and inspire change”, adds Shawn Elise. 

“You can double your donation by donating during Seaweek, and we can double our impact for our moana!”