At least twice a week for the past seven years Keith Earl has donned his gloves, grabbed a rubbish bag and cleaned up Kerikeri.

On Mondays the 80-year-old does the town centre — the main street, the one-way system and sometimes the bypass as well — and on Fridays he cleans up Kerikeri Rd from Ranui Gardens to the roundabout on State Highway 10.

He starts early, while many are still in bed, and returns home with bags bulging with rubbish about two and a half hours later.

''I take my time, I don't rush. I do it because it offends me when I see it. And if I do it someone else might do it as well," he said.


He calls Monday ''McDonald's day,'' because he picks up mostly fast food wrappers. Beer bottles are another common blight.

''They just throw it out the car windows. I think they just can't be bothered.''

On Fridays he picks up litter that has blown around from rubbish collection day. Not only does the sight annoy him, but he doesn't want it to be the first thing visitors see when they arrive in Kerikeri.

Earl's current role as volunteer rubbish collector is quite a change from his former life as a property manager for the Sultan of Brunei with a staff of about 1800. He moved to Kerikeri from Omaha, north of Auckland, in 2005.

Earl might not be paid, but his efforts are not entirely unrecognised. One business along his route gave him gloves and a "picker-upper," a waste company gives him a supply of rubbish bags every month, and the local Lions Club shouted him dinner.

''And I found 50 cents the other day,'' he said.

''I'll do it as long as I can. I'm doing it for Kerikeri, and the lovely people who live here.''