A bicultural clean up effort took place on the shores of Rangitoto Island yesterday when Hawaiian youth leaders joined their local iwi youth counterparts.

Armed with rubbish bags and a keen desire to make a difference, the team took on the coast to collect litter, highlighting the global issue of marine plastics.

Plastic of unknown origin, food wrappers, broken glass and plastic bottle caps are among the most common litter types found on New Zealand's coastline.

The activity was organised by Hawaiian Airlines and Sea Cleaners, along with the support of Auckland's Watercare Harbour Cleanup Trust.

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Since 2002, Sea Cleaners have worked to removed more than 5.6 million litres of rubbish from New Zealand's coastlines, equating to more than 41 million individual pieces and 130,000 total volunteer hours.

Sea Cleaners and Hawaiian Airlines initiative to clean up Rangitoto Island. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Sea Cleaners and Hawaiian Airlines initiative to clean up Rangitoto Island. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Hawaiian Airlines' New Zealand country director Russell Willis said both New Zealand and Hawaii share a deep concern for the preservation of our future generations.

"Controlling pollution by marine plastics is an issue for our time and a concern shared around the world, especially in countries bordered by the oceans," he said.

"Recently we welcomed iwi youth leaders to Honolulu to see how Hawaii is addressing this issue.

"Facilitating the same in New Zealand will help encourage understanding and engagement in mitigating a common issue."