TIDY KIWIS: Nelson Intermediate’s Tidy Kiwi Kids at Tahunanui Beach from left: Astrid Sayer, 12, Charlotte North, 12, Hester Allen, 13, Manun Par, 14, Jenny Lauum, 14, Nelson McComb, 13. The students have been picking up rubbish at various public spaces in Nelson as part of an elective offered at the school. Photo: Charles Anderson.

Students helping clean up Nelson

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When teacher Victoria Johnston offered up being a “Tidy Kiwi Kid” to the students of Nelson Intermediate as part of their Fridays, she wasn’t sure how it might go down.

“Every Friday students can do music or art or the gym as part of their ‘talents’,” she says. “So I was a bit unsure that anyone would be interested, considering how many other fun things there are to do.”

She needn’t have worried. On Friday almost 30 such students took to Tahunanui Beach to help scour through the dunes looking for trash. The previous week they cleaned up the Railway Reserve.

“The kids decide where to go to and we plan it all out,” says Victoria. “We are just trying to clean up different parts of Nelson.”

Student Astrid Sayer, 12, was one of the first to put her hand up.

“One of our school values is ‘kaitiakitanga’ or being guardians of our environment, so I think people just want to get out there and do something helpful and get involved and make a bit of a difference.”

She says it was “shocking” how much trash they have found.

“Just massive bags of stuff, it’s just horrid. So many cigarette packets and bottles and disgusting stuff. How can people just think that all would disappear?”

With help from the Tidy Kiwi Kids, it might have a better chance of that. However, Astrid says it would be a better idea for people to think more about what they are doing with their trash.