Aotea/Great Barrier Island Coastal Clean-up | Sustainable Coastlines

Event impacts

Event Details

Rubbish breakdown

In total over the course of two days on Friday 5 and Saturday 6 March, volunteers removed 32,900 litres, or 3,125 kg of rubbish from the coastlines of Aotea/Great Barrier Island. Overall, recyclable materials accounted for around 30% of the total weight, or 43% of the total volume collected.

Event totals and media

The official weigh-in has been completed: over the course of two days on Friday 5 and Saturday 6 March, volunteers removed 32,900 litres, or 3,125 kg of rubbish from the coastlines of Aotea/Great Barrier Island. That’s 300 kilos more than volunteers collected from the same locations at the same event last April, less than one year ago. While it’s sad to see how quickly the trash builds up on these beautiful shores, it was an amazing effort from all involved to help clean-up the beaches and raise awareness of the problem.

A huge thank you to everyone involved. Over the two days we had more than 1000 volunteers helping out around the island. On the Friday we had over 400 children from schools around Auckland patrolling the beaches in and around Tryphena Harbour. On the Saturday locals and volunteers from the mainland scoured the West Coast of the island in 22 boats, 65 kayaks and two walking groups. A massive effort from all.

Our Sustainable Coastlines crew coordinated the transport of the rubbish we collected back to Auckland (where a lot of it came from), and accompanied the rubbish barge back to the city – arriving at 9am on Wednesday 17 March at the Sealink terminal on Wynyard Wharf to a flurry of reporters and cameras. Check out some of our coverage here:

What next? We’re currently completing a detailed audit on the rubbish and will report back with results on the types and quantity of trash collected. When compared with the results from last year, this will become a valuable tool for understanding the composition, rate of build-up, and origin of the waste that makes it to the coastlines of this pristine island.



Photos and thanks

Thanks to all volunteers, supporters, sponsors and crew. The event was awesome, so a big thank you to everyone who helped out. We couldn’t have done it without you. Check out our event photos in the gallery above.

Photo competition

We’d love you to send your best shots from the event, so we’re holding a photo competition to reward volunteers who took awesome pics. The best shots will win epic prizes from our generous sponsors, just email photos to us at [email protected] and be in to win.



Event details

Firstly, thanks for your support. There’s a lot of rubbish out there to be picked up! Please take the time to read through the important details below. If you booked seats for other people, please make sure you pass this information on to them.

What to bring

Think of this as a weekend camping trip. Some important things to bring:

  • A print out of the receipt for your ferry ticket booking
  • Solid shoes that you don’t mind getting wet
  • Rain jacket, hat and sunscreen
  • Daypack, lunch and water for Saturday
  • Heavy duty gloves
  • Camera
  • Cash for food, drinks, transport etc. There are no ATM’s or banks, but you can pay by card in most places
  • Camping gear (tent, sleeping bags, mats, torch etc)
  • Surfboards, dive gear, fishing gear

Important note: When we arrive at the island, we’ll transport your bags (aside from your daypacks) to the Claris Club for you while you get stuck into the clean-up. Please ensure all gear that you need during the clean-up – including gloves, cameras, food, rain jacket etc is in your daypack before boarding the ferry in Auckland. Make sure bags, tents, surfboards etc are clearly labeled with your name. Speak to a Sustainable Coastlines rep if your luggage needs particular attention.

Schedule for Saturday


Check-in for ferry departure is at the Hilton, Downtown Auckland (not the ferry terminal):

  • Drop-off zone is at the Quay Street end of Princess Wharf. If you have a lot of gear that you can’t carry, drive down the East side of the wharf to drop it off beside the ferry.
  • Free car parking for event participants is available at the Downtown Auckland City Council car park, 31 Customs Street West (we’ll issue you with a ticket to validate your parking on the return ferry). Oh, and while we’re being good to the environment, please try and carpool to avoid congestion, we have limited free spaces.
  • Enjoy free tea or coffee at Hilton Auckland’s Bellini Bar before we board the ferry at 7.30am


Our Fullers’ Jet Raider chartered ferry departs Auckland. A Sustainable Coastlines rep will talk to you during the voyage to decide your clean-up group.


Jet Raider arrives in Whangaparapara Wharf on Great Barrier Island. Volunteers transfer to smaller boats, kayaks or mini buses to travel to clean-up locations. Luggage will be transported separately to the Claris Club / campsite (unless on special request).


Jet Raider arrives in Port Fitzroy Wharf (further north on the island). Volunteers transfer to smaller boats, kayaks or mini buses to travel to clean-up locations.


Transport from your clean-up location to the Claris Club / campsite. Pitch your tent and grab a shower (toilets, showers and drinking water available). Lodging is available at two minutes walk from Claris Club.


Celebration at the Claris Club. Reasonably-priced BBQ and drinks, and a solid line-up of music.
See map of the island below, with key locations mentioned above marked.

Sunday: Explore the Island

Everyone is free to do what they like and make the most of this beautiful island. A few things that we recommend:

  • Enjoy brunch at Claris Texas Cafe, near the Claris Club.
  • Swim at the Kaitoke Hot Springs. Taxis available from Claris.
  • Hire a car or mountain bike at ($10 discount/day per car).
  • Surfing on the East Coast.
  • Go for a fish or a dive. Contact Kim Watts, Riviera on 0275485957 / (09) 4290733 or visit

Very important note: All event participants returning to Auckland will need to make their own way back to Whangaparapara Wharf by 5pm for a 5.30pm departure. We can help transport your gear from the Claris Club if necessary, just come and see us to organise this.



Event updates

Bringing your own boat?

Meet in Port Fitzroy at 10am on Saturday 6th March. Epic spot prizes on offer from Burnsco Marine, Harken, Gill and RFD. Saturday night BBQ at Smokehouse Bay or transport to big celebration in Claris available. To register, contact Mike Good at Burnsco Marine on 09 535 4558 ex 702 [email protected]

Frequently asked questions

To answer any questions you may have about the upcoming event, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions and, of course, the answers to them. For more information please contact Sam Judd on 021 058 9349 or e-mail [email protected]

What’s this all about?

This event is the second annual coastal clean-up, following on from the success of last year’s event that spanned the West Coast of Aotea/Great Barrier Island, when volunteers working with Sustainable Coastlines removed over 2.8 tonnes of rubbish in one day. 85-90% of this came from the storm water drains of Auckland city and from the boats that enjoy the beautiful island each summer. Come down and help us do it again this year! We’ll be picking up rubbish from the island’s coasts on foot, vehicles, yacht, boat, kayak and dive groups, depending on individual preference and capability. A detailed volunteer briefing will be held on the morning of the event.

Where is it?

Aotea/Great Barrier Island, New Zealand. Volunteers are welcome to either make their own way there or come as a foot passenger on our chartered ferry from Downtown Auckland.

When is the event?

Saturday 6th March, 2010: Ferry leaves Downtown Auckland at 8am, arriving at Great Barrier Island mid morning. We will clean-up the coastlines then enjoy a BBQ and celebration with some top musical artists at the Claris Club in the evening. Free on-site camping will be available for event participants. Artists to be announced here soon.

Sunday 7th March, 2010: Everyone is free to enjoy the amazing location. Possibilities include world class surfing, diving the crystal clear waters, challenging tramping, soothing natural hot pools, golf, cycling, great fishing and simply relaxing on Great Barrier Island. Ferry departs Great Barrier Island at 5.30pm and arrives back in Auckland at around 7.30pm.

Who’s involved?

Everyone is welcome, however under 18 year olds must be supervised by a parent or guardian. Sustainable Coastlines is a New Zealand charity with solid results from events in the Galapagos Islands, Kingdom of Tonga and New Zealand. We focus on community-wide participation in activities at grass roots level, with the education of young people about coastline protection and recycling the underlying priority. What sets us apart however is that we make it FUN!

Why are we doing this?

When litter is dropped on the streets of Auckland City, it flows through the storm water drains and out into the Hauraki Gulf. Every city-facing coastline of all of the gulf’s islands is covered in trash, choking the ecosystem and poisoning marine life. Boats contribute to this problem also; especially through fishing rubbish and plastic debris escaping from vessels; so take the opportunity to help clean up our coastline whilst enjoying the epic island scenery and attractions with hundreds of other volunteers.

How can I get involved?

Spaces on our chartered ferry are limited, so make sure you book your seat now. You can do this through the link at the top of this page, and tickets cost only $50 return per person. There’s plenty of room for dive/fishing gear, surfboards, bicycles etc and plenty of time to explore the beautiful Great Barrier Island on Sunday as well as discounts on rental cars (details still to be announced).



Dates announced

Plans are taking shape for our next event – to be held on the 5th, 6th and 7th of March along the coastlines of Aotea/Great Barrier Island. This follows on from our event last April, when over 700 volunteers removed around 2.8 tonnes of rubbish from the island’s beaches over two days. For a good feel for what this event was like, and an idea of what to expect this time around, check out the Campbell Live story on last year’s clean-up here.

Hayden Smith from the Waitemata Harbour Clean-up Trust estimates that around 85-90% of the rubbish found on the beaches (particularly the West Coast) of Aotea/Great Barrier Island comes directly from the stormwater drains and rivers of Auckland City. So there’s plenty of rubbish to pick up.

In the next few weeks, our planning team will be heading over to the island to work with the local community on coordinating the event. As we fine-tune the plan for the event, we’ll update this page with all of the details and helpful information. We’ll also be sending out our e-newsletter closer to the event with an official invite to get involved.