It's a monthly adventure that a group of thirty or more Kawhia children look forward to - helping pick up rubbish along the Kawhia coastline.

For Anthony Taylor it's a lot of fun to discover different treasure.

"I like coming on the beach clean-up - whatever I find I get to keep, that I like."

Izaya Sciascia agrees and says he gets to hang out with all his friends.


While it may be a lot of fun, they know that the work they do goes a long way in helping protect the environment.

Chairman of the Kawhia Community Board Kit Jeffries says he, like many of the children are surprised with how much rubbish washes up on the beach "so there's an ecological side to it as well."

"Its teaching them to take a pride in their country and their patch if you like. To ensure that this sort of stuff is picked up and disposed of properly."

Over the last three and a half years about 20 tonnes of rubbish has been picked up by the keen volunteers.

Organiser of the Kawhia Aotea Beach Care Group Bevan Taylor says it's about getting the kids out in the environment "and they also get a good workout, on a physical level".

"This is not only teaching our kids to respect our natural environment it's also getting a good ecological consciousness if you like. Then they become aware of the effects of littering," Mr Taylor says.

It's a practical lesson, picking up bottles, lids, wood, light bulbs, toothbrushes, glass, containers, cups and much more.

Mr Taylor hopes "we teach them what can happen out there with plastic floating in the ocean", and the fact that turtles, dolphins, whales and other marine life swallow plastic.

Mr Taylor says plastic bags can easily be mistaken by predators as jellyfish and rubbish should be disposed of correctly.

"To me if you connect with the environment, you're more likely to protect it, for those that are more disconnected to nature they're more likely to um, you know trash it in a way. Kid's who tune into the environment are more likely to protect it later on."

The rubbish is picked up by locals who volunteer their time, energy and trailers and trucks to carry the rubbish.

And now the job is easier with a new trailer paid for by a $2,000 dollar grant from the Heartland Fund - a community funding arm of King Country Energy.

Previously the trailers had been old and small, not fit for purpose - last time they got a flat tyre.

But the Heartland Fund and many projects it supports, are at risk.

King Country Energy is undergoing an ownership review by its shareholders, Trust Power and King Country Electric Power Trust.

However the CEO of King Country Energy, Rob Foster, says he does not see any reason for why the they shouldn't be able to continue supporting community initiatives.

However Mr Foster admits that the company's future is a matter in the hands of its shareholders and for now they will continue operating "business as usual".

Apply for funding here.

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