Around 250 little and not-so-little helpers turned rubbish into art at Ōtaki Kite Festival, building a spectacular Sea Monster on the beach to highlight the issue of ocean pollution.
Paraparaumu Beach artist JoAnna Mere built the body of the monster, then invited festival goers to attach items of rubbish found during beach and park clean-ups and from festival bins, to create the creature’s wings.
“My motivation for creating the community Sea Monster Project comes from my belief that we can all be kaitiaki, because we are all the people of this land. The beach is our marae atea, as we work together on environmental solutions for issues like the plastic in our oceans,” JoAnna says.
The creation of the sea monster was kicked off with a beach-clean up on Ōtaki Beach on the Saturday morning of the Kite Festival. The timing also marked the end of Seaweek , which saw a record number of community beach clean-ups throughout the district. During the three weeks from 18 February to 7 March, over 400 people took part in ten events organised by schools, community groups and businesses, collecting around 25 bags full of rubbish. Kāpiti Coast District Council supported these clean-ups by providing gloves and bags, promoting events, and picking up collected rubbish or covering disposal fees.
While beach clean-ups help remove waste from the ocean, scientists stress that to solve the problem, we need to improve waste management around the globe, and reduce the amount of waste we create in the first place.
Three top tips to stop the plastic tide in Kāpiti:
The sea monster will go on display in April – keep an eye on our Sustainable Communities Kāpiti facebook page to find out where and when! Many thanks to everyone who contributed to the project, including DOC for lending us their fabulous tent, the Otaihanga transfer station staff for helping JoAnna source some sea monster bones, the Ōtaki Kite Festival for being so accommodating, and of course our many helpers over the weekend.
Ocean plastic pollution in numbers: