There were paper bags, gloves and plenty of determination at the ready as people gathered to clean up the Sulphur Bay area as part of an annual initiative.

A number of conservation-themed events have been held around Rotorua this week for Conservation Week 2019.

Sudima Hotel staff ran a clean-up event around the Sulphur Bay area on Wednesday, followed by a Department of Conservation ranger-led talk on the threatened black-billed gulls often seen in the area.

In Rotorua, Sudima Hotels started and has been running the Sudima Lake Rotorua Lakeside Clean-Up initiative for the past five years.

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Sustainability is a core Sudima Hotels value across the group, and Sudima Lake Rotorua now runs this annual event as an open-invitation and encourages other local businesses and people to attend.

Hotel manager Rajas Patil says the clean-up went well, it was great to see the community spirit, and he was excited to be part of it.

(From left) De-Arna Fraser, 3, Cooper Simmonds, 4, Kahurangi Wallace, 2, and Heath Hohneck, 4, from Waiapu Kids are kitted out in gear to take part. Photo / Shauni James
(From left) De-Arna Fraser, 3, Cooper Simmonds, 4, Kahurangi Wallace, 2, and Heath Hohneck, 4, from Waiapu Kids are kitted out in gear to take part. Photo / Shauni James

He says more than 60 people joined in this year, collecting 204kg of rubbish.

There had been rubbish hidden under trees and some which had to be pulled from the dirt, he says.

"It was great to see the community involved and sharing their views, and making sure the environment is well looked after."

Department of Conservation rangers getting involved in the clean up. Photo / Shauni James
Department of Conservation rangers getting involved in the clean up. Photo / Shauni James

About 15 people from the Polynesian Spa team took part in the clean-up.

Polynesian Spa chief executive Gert Taljaard says they had been looking forward to supporting the clean-up.

"Lake Rotorua is a geothermal wonderland – a fantastic taonga that needs our protection. We care deeply for the lake and are looking forward to rolling our sleeves up for the clean-up."

He says Polynesian Spa and Sudima Lake Rotorua are blessed to be in an amazing location on the lakefront, and it comes with the responsibility of making sure to care for the wider area.

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"It's a fantastic initiative."

Other events held in Rotorua throughout the week include a free BioBlitz event by Rainbow Springs and the Kiwi Conservation Club, a digital art exhibition, kiwi aversion training for dogs and a night walk to look at nocturnal creatures.

At Okareka, Steve Goodin planned an event to showcase his biodiversity restoration work to members of the public.

Rotorua Library/Te Aka Mauri joined the festivities by hosting guest speakers from the Catfish Killas along with Te Arawa Para Kore representative Harina Rupapera, who specialises in whale resource recovery, as well as putting a Conservation Week theme to its regular Lego club.

It also exhibited images submitted to the Conservation Week photography competition.

Deputy mayor Dave Donaldson and wife Shreeve Donaldson searching for rubbish to be picked up. Photo / Shauni James
Deputy mayor Dave Donaldson and wife Shreeve Donaldson searching for rubbish to be picked up. Photo / Shauni James

Department of Conservation community ranger Catherine Noble says Conservation Week is a national event and an opportunity for all levels of the community to come together and celebrate nature.

For more information on Conservation Week 2019 and events coming up this weekend in the Bay of Plenty, go to www.doc.govt.nz.