Every day for the past 32 years Denis Hancock has hopped on his bike and picked up rubbish.

There's no pay involved but he does get a free supply of rubbish bags from the Hastings District Council, and over the years he has picked up more than 44,000 bags of rubbish.

As each bag fills up, the 74-year old leaves it on the kerbside with a sticker on it so council staff will collect it.

Denis does it because keeping the region beautiful is important to him, but not everyone is behind his cause.


"I've had three bikes stolen," Denis said. "A brand-new bike that cost over $800 that I paid for myself - it had disc brakes on it. And that got stolen from outside my flat while I was upstairs putting groceries in the fridge."

Fortunately it was insured so he bought a new bike which he takes as far as Napier, 20km away from his Hastings home.

It's not just rubbish Denis collects.

"I was working down at Splash Planet and next thing a lady comes in with a box of chocolates. 'Thank you very much for handing my wallet into the police station'."

He said the litter problem is improving and he's proud of the contribution he has made.

"A lot of people say 'It's because of what you are doing, that's why it is better'. Other people say '[In the] early days we used to drop the rubbish. Now we've seen you going around we don't do it any more'."

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