Organisers hope for another big Seaweek turnout

20 Feb 2018

Organisers are hoping thousands of Northlanders will take part in a variety of events being held across the region to mark Seaweek 2018, which officially runs from Saturday 03 March to Sunday 11 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 long-time supporter of the event and its Deputy Chairman David Sinclair says the council will be once again helping equip local school and community groups to clean up beaches as part of Seaweek.

Under the double umbrella of the council’s regional Enviroschools programme and CoastCare Northland, the council had last year helped almost 3000 people who took part in 55 Seaweek clean ups Northland-wide. Collectively, those people had removed several tonnes of rubbish from the coastal environment.

“This year we’ll once again be offering those who register with us free clean-up kits containing rubbish bags, sunscreen, a clean-up guide, tide tables and other useful material.”

Councillor Sinclair says council organisers are hoping to beat last year’s tally of roughly 2900 participants and as of Monday, 19 February the council already had almost 1000 people registered for about two dozen clean-ups via seaweek

Whananaki School student holding rubbish from the beach.Whananaki School's winning 'close-up' from the Seaweek 2017 photo competition.

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 this year again go in a draw for a free $200 portable barbeque courtesy of the NZAEE.

“This information is very useful as our staff continue to build a picture of the types of coastal litter polluting our marine environment and how we can better manage the issue of unwanted waste in our waterways.”

Meanwhile, Cr Sinclair says the council is also running a photo competition for all clean-up participants – also via seaweek – to win one of three ‘day at the beach’ packs, again sponsored by the NZAEE.  There are three categories; best scenic shot, group image and close-up.

He says although technically Seaweek runs from 03-11 March, clean ups can be done anytime from Monday 26 February to the end of school Term One on Friday 13 April, provided participants have pre-registered with the regional council between now and Friday 09 March.

Councillor Sinclair says as well as greatly appreciating the NZAEE’s support, the regional council is grateful to its district counterparts in Northland, all three of which offer free disposal of the waste collected during the beach clean-ups.

“Seaweek continues to provide another excellent opportunity for local communities and local government right across Northland to work together for the mutual benefit of our precious marine environment.”