Keep New Zealand Beautiful (KNZB) this week launched an anti-litter campaign, fronted by a boisterous character named Mama Nature — played by comedian David Fane — to celebrate Kiwis doing the right thingin disposing of rubbish.
The KNZB Oasis will be at the Waikato Show on Friday and Saturday where people can check out the interactive VR experience and win spot prizes for putting litter in the bin.
KNZB saw a need for a new litter reduction campaign after its volunteers collected enough rubbish to fill 120 rugby fields with litter reaching half a metre in height from just one week-long clean-up.
The campaign also aims to tackle new research showing the top items littered in public places by New Zealanders, with the key culprit being cigarette butts (78 per cent of litter), followed by takeaway packaging (5 per cent).
Mama Nature was developed by KNZB to encourage Kiwis to do the right thing with their litter including disposing of it in the bin, taking litter home when a bin isn't available and picking up litter they come across.
Mama Nature cracks down on those who litter and celebrates the "be-yooo-diful" behaviour of those who do the right thing and put their litter in the bin.
The national litter behaviour research, commissioned by KNZB, found nearly all New Zealanders (93 per cent) think it is important for New Zealand to maintain its clean, green image.
Despite this, the research showed nearly half (44 per cent) of those surveyed littered within just five metres of their nearest bin.
According to the data, the average distance New Zealanders are prepared to walk to a bin to dispose their rubbish is only 8.4 metres, with littering rising dramatically beyond this distance.
KNZB CEO Heather Saunderson says it is great to see New Zealanders take such pride in our country, however the organisation will be undertaking more work to reach a holistic view of the country's litter problem.
"We created Mama Nature to celebrate 'be-yooo-diful' behaviour when it comes to Kiwis doing the right thing with their rubbish and we're hoping she'll be a fun reminder for all of us to ensure our litter ends up in the bin.