Three young boys from Levin, also known as the Waste Warriors, are trying to make a difference to our environment one step at a time with their own clean-up mahi.
The Hazel boys - Anthony, 8, Caleb, 7, and Brendon, 5 - were videoed by their mum, Janelle Cody, picking up rubbish that had been dumped in the Levin Adventure Park on Oxford St one weekend in March this year.
The boys removed broken glass, rotten food, cans and much more, loading it up in a trolley to dispose of.
Cody shared the video with the Livin' In Levin Facebook group, where it was seen by Horowhenua District Council staff who approached her to arrange a chat with the boys about their hard work.
The resulting video, posted on Horowhenua NZ's Facebook page, went viral and has currently racked up nearly 8000 views: https://fb.watch/v/5Xh_JSrDl/
Cody's original post was also seen by HDC councillor Victoria Kaye-Simmons, who is the chairwoman of Keep Horowhenua Beautiful.
Kaye-Simmons nominated the trio for the Keep NZ Beautiful Tidy Kiwi Volunteer of the month award in June, which they won, receiving Keep NZ Beautiful T-shirts and drink bottles.
"Pride and vibrancy are part of Keep Horowhenua Beautiful ... [these boys] did a fantastic job and we just wanted to say awesome work," said Kaye-Simmons.
Cody said the family had always made an effort to pick up any rubbish they saw whenever they visited the beach, but the boys' true awareness of the damage litter could create for the environment kicked off during lockdown last year.
"Anthony found a challenge online, a competition to create something out of recycling, so he made a cardboard caterpillar.
"He won the competition and the prize was a book called Kiki Kiwi and Friends - The Travelling Trash, from Keep NZ Beautiful."
Cody said after reading the book the boys developed a much better understanding of the impact waste has on our surroundings.
Next to get in on the good vibes being created by the Waste Warriors was Morag Collins, team manager for the local branch of Recreational Services, who provided the boys with tools to use for their clean-ups – including an unlimited quantity of black rubbish bags and a litter picker.
Anthony, Caleb and Brendon want to do clean-up collaborations with other local children during future school holidays and are leading Levin North School's participation in the national environmental awareness event, Clean Up Week, in September this year.
With both local and national interest in the #horowhenuaproud heroes growing, Cody has decided to create a blog so people can follow her boys' clean-up adventures more easily: