Seaweek 2017 photo contest winners

7 Jun 2017, 10:01 AM

Two schools and a canoe club have won a $370 GoPro camera each after winning one of three sections in a Seaweek photographic contest run by the Northland Regional Council.

Councillor Joce Yeoman says the contest was one of a variety of events held across the region to mark Seaweek 2017 earlier this year under the double umbrella of council’s regional Enviroschools programme and CoastCare Northland.

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

More than 3000 people took part in more than 50 Northland-wide beach clean-ups organised by the council, which also ran a photo contest to raise awareness of Seaweek, with prizes funded by the NZAEE.

Councillor Yeoman says the council received 22 entries in the photo contest, with a panel of several staff judges choosing winners in three categories.  Councillors are now presenting those winners with their prizes.

Girl holding pieces of rubbish collected from beach.Whananaki School won the 'close up' category with this entry 'He rau ringa e oti ai – Many hands make light work'.

Best close up shot went to Whananaki School with its entry ‘He rau ringa e oti ai – Many hands make light work’; best scenic image to Matihetihe School for ‘When you visit Mitimiti Beach – just leave your footprints’  while the Northland Canoe Club secured the group category for a photo on Whangarei Harbour’s Rabbit Island it captioned ‘Great expectations’.

“Not only were the images amazing, the work done by the staff and students of all the schools involved during Seaweek was significant; it’s a fabulous way for students to understand just how much rubbish ends up in our coastal environment while cleaning up our iconic beaches,” Cr Yeoman says.

“Talking to students who were involved it was obvious that they’d taken on board the need to recycle and make sure rubbish goes where it’s meant to so it doesn’t end up on our coast or in the sea.”

Meanwhile, Cr Yeoman says a $200 portable gas BBQ (also courtesy of the NZAEE) was also presented to Hikurangi School after it was randomly drawn from 20 Seaweek beach clean-up participants who audited a bag of rubbish they collected.

“It was a great boost for Hikurangi School as a new Enviroschool – the students and staff involved were absolutely thrilled.”

Councillor Yeoman says the audit information is extremely useful to council staff.

“It helps us 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.”

She says as part of this year’s event, the council had also helped with free clean-up kits containing rubbish bags, gloves, sunscreen, a clean-up guide, tide tables and other useful material.

Audited participants alone had subsequently removed almost 100 50-litre bags of rubbish from the coastal environment, with the actual amount recovered likely to be more than double that once all clean-up crews were considered.

“We really appreciate the NZAEE’s support in providing the prizes and council is also grateful to our district counterparts, all three of which disposed of the collected rubbish for free.”