Road signs, the seat out of a boat and remnants of what appeared to be a small safe were some of the more unusual items removed from the Ohau Channel during last year's Ohau Channel Clean-up.

The annual clean-up is run as part of Conservation Week, with this year's event taking place on Sunday, October 22.

The Ohau Channel Clean-up is organised each year by local company River Rats Raft & Kayak and fits well with this year's Conservation Week theme; Love Your Backyard.

The Ohau Channel joins lakes Rotorua and Rotoiti.


"Rubbish has a tendency to get caught in the reeds and willows on the sides of the channel," River Rats manager Justin Hutton said.

"At a glance, it doesn't look too bad as much of it sits just below the water or in amongst the trees, but once you start fossicking around it is amazing what you find. Plastic bottles and bottle caps are the most common items but we have pulled all sorts of things out of there over the years."

River Rats makes kayaks available free, or people bring their own and paddle down the channel collecting rubbish along the way.

"We make our living off the local environment and have always tried to minimise our impact on it, but it is nice to organise something that actually improves the environment for others," Mr Hutton said.

"Some of the rubbish such as the road signs had obviously been purposefully thrown off the road bridge which is disappointing, but I think much of it is carelessness."

Plastic bottles, bottle caps and the like can be easily caught by the wind or wash into drains. Some then end up in the lake and eventually wash down the channel.

"I don't think last year was as bad as previous years and the good news is the water clarity was the best I have seen it, so we are making progress with the clean-up of our lakes. But it would nice if people took more responsibility for their rubbish."

Anyone keen to help can join River Rats for a kayak from Lake Rotorua through the Ohau Channel to Lake Rotoiti, picking up rubbish from the channel and the river banks.

Bring your own kayak if possible - a limited number of kayaks are available but you must contact River Rats to book these.

What: Ohau Channel Clean-up
When: Sunday, October 22 at 1pm
Where: Ohau Channel. Meet at the end of Takinga St, Mourea, Rotorua
Cost: Free
Bookings: Essential if you need a kayak. Email or call (07) 345 6543.