A small group of tidy Kiwis have dedicated their spare time to keeping the shores of Mount Maunganui clean.

Prompted by the Rena disaster in 2011, the group of about 16 Tauranga locals decided to keep going after the oil was cleaned up.

Team leader Leigh Pettigrew said it was "just a case of the locals respecting the beach".

"I thought after Rena that's it, we've done our dash. But the rest of the group said hold on, we were picking up just as much rubbish as oil."


So the group decided to carry on.

A person was rostered on every day and went to Pilot Bay to do their bit when they found the time, he said.

Three others had also started picking up rubbish along Mount Main Beach recently, and he was aware of some others involved in the Rena clean up who now regularly cleaned further along the coast.

The group would collect up to a tonne of rubbish every one-to-three weeks, which Mr Pettigrew would take to the dump.

Washed up rubbish included everything from dead birds, to discarded plastic and bottles and even pig intestines in a bag once, he said.

The wind direction often determined the nature of the rubbish.

Any injured birds they found were taken to the local Holistic Vets for care.

Summer often saw a lot more rubbish on the beach as bins overflowed and seagulls flew the empty takeaway wrappers around, Mr Pettigrew said.


"On the mornings we know there's a cruise ship coming in we'll go down early."

He hoped people would pick up any rubbish they saw when they were walking around the area.