Southern Coastal Charitable Trust

The Fiordland Coastal clean-up really began one day in 2001 when Southwest helicopter pilot Wayne Pratt landed on a beach in North Port Chalky Inlet to pick up a load of lobster.

Wayne had flown along the south coast beaches of Fiordland to pick up the lobster as he had done many times before, each time noticing an accumulation of plastic rubbish along the way.  He decided that something needed to be done about the rubbish and opened a discussion with the fishermen.  This discussion was the start of the rubbish clean-up of Fiordland and Stewart Island’s beaches.

The first point of order was to attain sponsorship for the clean-up as it was going to be an expensive proposition with the need for boats and helicopters to help.  The first sponsorships came from Environment Southland and the fishing industry and enabled us to clean-up the beaches between Port Craig and Preservation Inlet.  Although money was tight, there was no shortage of volunteers and fishermen willing to help, and Southwest Helicopters let us use their finances to get things underway.

The Southland volunteers sorted through the rubbish taking out any recycling and for the first three years the rest was burnt on the beaches using purpose made burning drums, since half the cost of the clean-up was getting the rubbish off the beaches.  TV3 and the Southland Times covered the clean-up which gave the project much needed momentum and gained more sponsors and volunteers.

In the next four years, the clean-up grew to include the beaches up to Milford Sound, and it was noted that there is less rubbish further north, due to the sea currents.  The rubbish collecting points tend to group on the west side of Stewart Island and the south coast of Fiordland.

Once the beaches were cleared of rubbish, the coastal clean-up took a few year’s break, followed by a smaller clean-up of the south coast up to Dusky Sound.  Joyce and Johan started the clean-up again in 2012 where a staggering 20 tons of rubbish was gathered from Stewart Island and the next clean-up in 2018 gathered 16.6 tons of rubbish.

The previous year’s rubbish was not weighted, and although the rubbish was burnt onsite, there was a large amount recycled and fishing gear re-used.  Much of the rubbish has been found to come with the sea currents from countries around the world, South Africa, Australia, Chile just to name a few, we’ve even found washed up coconuts!

The coastal clean-up could never have been made possible without our sponsors and amazing volunteers.

Community Trust South

SBS Bank

Allied Petroleum