Boys set ‘awesome’ example in keeping favourite holiday campground tidy
If a tidy camper is a happy camper, then two Waitara boys have been spreading the joy around the New Plymouth District Council-owned O¯ naero campground.
Layne Russ, 6, and his cousin Jack Melville, 10, collected three big bags of rubbish during a sweep around the campsite, down the O¯ naero River and around the beach during a rainy day over the long Matariki weekend — and they’re keen to keep the ground tidy during their regular holidays there.
“I thought it would be a good idea to pick up the rubbish because then the animals wouldn’t die from eating the rubbish,” says Layne, who plays for Clifton Junior Rugby.
Layne’s parents, Lisa Melville and Michael Russ have been caravanning at the O¯ naero Bay Holiday Park regularly over the past 12 years and they love its classic friendly Kiwi campground feel.
“We took Layne for his first camping trip at O¯ naero at 6 weeks old. It’s so peaceful and even when it’s packed, there is a really good vibe,” says Lisa.
Lisa says after being stuck in the caravan for a couple of hours because of the rain, she told the boys to put their gumboots on so they could walk to the river.
“Sadly, we spent over an hour picking up rubbish. We ended up with three bags full, a piece of large rope and a sheet of polythene.
“The rubbish was a huge mixture of plastics — plant pots, bits of ice cream containers, bottles and lids, pegs, a really old piece of Lego, a camera lens cap, balls, straws, lollipop sticks.”
Both boys said they’d do it again. “I was so proud of these two boys. It wasn’t a chore as they knew it was so important to look after the river and beach,” says Lisa.
The boys are role models for everyone who visited the campground, says Michelle Kennard, manager of O¯ naero Bay Holiday Park, which is leased by Belgravia NZ.
“It’s great to see our regular Taranaki family of campers taking time and pride to clean our beach for everyone to enjoy.”
District Council resource recovery manager Kimberley Hope says everyone has a role in keeping our Sustainable Lifestyle Capital clean and green as a taonga for future generations.
“Layne and Jack set an awesome example for all of us, especially the grown-ups. Taranaki has a zero waste goal, so it’s important to reuse, recycle and repurpose where we can and to make sure our rubbish goes in the bin when we are out and about.
“[The] council’s six coastal campgrounds are Taranaki gems for locals and visitors so let’s clean up after ourselves,” she said.