Organisers hope for big local turnout for Seaweek 2017

14 Feb 2017

Organisers are hoping thousands of Northlanders will take part in a variety of events being held across the region to mark Seaweek 2017, which officially runs from Saturday 25 February to Sunday 05 March.

The annual event is hosted by the New Zealand Association for Environmental Education (NZAEE) and this year’s theme is ‘Toiora te Moana - Toiora te Tangata - Healthy Seas, Healthy People’.

The Northland Regional Council (NRC) is a keen supporter of the event and its chairman Bill Shepherd says the council is once again helping equip local school and community groups to clean up beaches as part of Seaweek.

“Last year we were able to assist almost 2200 Northlanders who took part in 45 Seaweek clean ups across the region under the double umbrella of council’s regional Enviroschools programme and CoastCare Northland.”

“We were able to help with free clean-up kits containing rubbish bags, gloves, sunscreen, a clean-up guide, tide tables and other useful material and participants removed huge amounts of rubbish from our coastal environment.”

Council organisers are hoping more than 2000 will take part in its events again this year and the council already has almost 1000 people registered for more than 20 clean-ups via seaweek

Councillor Shepherd says as an extra incentive, participants who agree to audit a bag of rubbish and provide the information to the regional council’s coastal monitoring team will go in a draw for a free $200 portable barbeque courtesy of the NZAEE.

“This information is extremely useful to our staff as they build a picture of the types of rubbish polluting our coast and how we can better manage the issue of unwanted waste in our waterways.”

Councillor Shepherd says the council is also running a photo competition for all clean-up participants – also via seaweek – to win one of three GoPro cameras, again sponsored by the NZAEE.  There are three categories; best scenic shot, group image and close-up.

“Although technically Seaweek ends on 05 March, clean ups can be done right up until Easter, provided people have pre-registered with us by Friday 03 March.”

As well as greatly appreciating the support from the NZAEE for prizes, the regional council is grateful to its district counterparts across the region, all three of which offer free disposal of the waste collected during the beach clean-ups.

“Seaweek is another great example where the community and local government right across Northland can work together for the mutual benefit of our shared marine environment.”