Keeping New Zealand Beautiful
New Zealand is truly a beautiful place. The Māori, its indigenous people, called it
“Aotearoa,” which means, land of the long white cloud. Just look at a photo of New Zealand, and you’ll know. Stunning white clouds stretch over slate coloured, snow capped mountains and lush, vibrant woods, all of which wide blue lakes mirror back.
New Zealand is dedicated in every way to its beauty, which means keeping it clean.
Keeping New Zealand Clean
New Zealand’s cleanliness plays a huge role in its beauty. Again, look at a photo. It’s sparkling and unspoiled. New Zealanders are very proud of their country and dedicate themselves to making sure it stays that way. It’s a way of life.
- History: the Anti-Litter Council started the keeping clean movement. Volunteers formed the group in the 1960s and appeared before Parliament to advocate for littering laws. At the time, it felt citizens weren’t concerned enough about litter. It believed making littering an offence to society would make people more aware and more conscious. (The Anti-Litter Council will later become known as Keep New Zealand Beautiful, Inc.)
- Litter Legislation: Parliament passed the Litter Act of 1968, which set forth fines for littering. Parliament later modified it with the Litter of 1979 (Act), which still stands, but with updated modifications. While the law contains various details and definitions, it is essentially an offence to throw or drop litter from anywhere.
- Promotion: In 1985, Parliament added an addendum to Act that appointed Keep New Zealand Beautiful, Inc. to promote litter control.
Keep New Zealand Beautiful, Inc.
Keep New Zealand Beautiful, Inc. (KNZB) is still promoting litter control. It’s where citizens can turn to find resources for litter control, information about reporting illegal dumping, how to organize clean-up events, and roughly anything they need about cleaning up rubbish. Its slogans are “Be a Tidy Kiwi” and “Do the Right Thing,” and its logo has a rainbow alongside an outline of the country.
KNZB, however, does so much more now. Practically every week, there’s some event that involves volunteer kids and adults, collectively known as “Kiwis.”
Here are just some of the programs KNZB supports:
- Tackling Cigarette Butts: this focuses on the over 60 million cigarette butts that people discard into the environment yearly, which harm animals on land and in water. The program educates individuals and offers alternatives, including butt bins with KNZB’s logo.
- Tackling Graffiti: New Zealand considers graffiti vandalism and has found that a neighbourhood associated with graffiti is more likely to attract crime. The organisation, therefore, takes it seriously and aims to remove it quickly with abundant Graffiti Eradication Events. It also has an Adopt a Spot program, which helps communities clean up graffiti.
- Paint New Zealand Beautiful: two competitions encourage artists to 1) paint a mural in their community; and, 2) paint a wall. Winners receive cash prizes.
- Blue Flag: this is a prestigious designation KNZB awards yearly to marinas, boating conductors, and beaches that maintain rigorous standards in: water quality, environmental instruction, safety and services, environmental management and social responsibility
- Young Reporters: this inspires young people to communicate their beliefs about the environment through photography, video, or writing and to also channel their work to one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
- Annual Clean-Up Week: from September 11th through September 17th, more than fifty thousand New Zealanders and hundreds of communities and businesses get together to spruce up. Over six hundred events take place with clean-ups at parks, along highways, at beaches, neighbourhoods, and everywhere else.
Again, this is just a few of KNZB’s programs. For over fifty years KNZ has dedicated itself to making sure New Zealand remains as beautiful the Māori people saw it.