Waste Zero Whakatāne and Pride Whakatāne are excited to announce local business owner, resident and Tidy Kiwi Kenny MacCracken is one of three national finalists for the 2019 ‘Tidy Kiwi’ award.

The Tidy Kiwi is one of the categories in the annual Beautiful Awards. Run by Keep New Zealand Beautiful, these awards aim to celebrate environmental excellence exemplified by communities, businesses, schools and individuals in New Zealand.

Waste Zero Whakatāne and Pride Whakatāne nominated Kenny for his work in organising and running the Great Coast Clean Up. He is passionate about the Whakatāne area and wildlife, and sees first-hand the impact ocean and coastal litter has on our marine environment and how this has grown over the 20 years he has been running his kayaking business.

Kenny organised his first ‘Great Coast Clean Up’ in 2015, which covered nearly 40km of coastline. In 2018 the event expanded to incorporate Waste Zero Whakatāne, a new community ‘zero waste action group’, as well as Whakatāne District Council and the Department of Conservation. Held in November 2018, the event saw more than 100 families and groups clear rubbish from the Eastern Bay coastline from Opape to Matata. About 350kg of rubbish was picked up, along with many larger items that were transported to the transfer station separately. Kenny estimated several kilograms of rubbish were collected from each kilometre of coastline.

“It is absolutely appalling how much waste volunteers picked up,” Kenny says. “No one wants to talk about how bad the problem is, but people are just chucking stuff out with no thought to where it will end up.”

The 2019 Great Coast Clean Up is planned for 21s September and aims to be bigger than ever, covering the coastline all the way up to Mt Maunganui. Lisa Eve, from Waste Zero Whakatāne, says Kenny’s ongoing commitment to keeping our coastline clean, safe and tidy makes him a well-deserving finalist in this year’s awards.

“We wish him all the best at the awards dinner in Dunedin in October.”

The Beautiful Awards winners will be announced at a gala dinner on Thursday 24 October at Dunedin’s Toitu Otago Settlers Museum.

If you’d like to show your support and get involved, find the ‘Great Coast Clean Up’ on Facebook or contact Kenny on 027 272 4073 to register.