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Beach clean-up making waves


Nineteen-year-old Chayla Beaver is making a name for herself as an environmentalist, set to host the second annual Castlepoint Beach Clean-Up.

The former Wairarapa College student, working from Whangamata, has been pulling the necessary strings to get the community armed and ready to tackle the issue of rubbish pollution at one of the region’s most scenic beaches.

Last year, Chayla, who grew up at Castlepoint, organised the first clean-up which saw the collection of more than 150kg of rubbish which was then sorted and recycled.

“Even once I had done the clean-up last year, I was still getting messages from people saying things like, now when we walk along the beach my 4-year-old daughter picks up rubbish. I thought that was pretty cool.

“So, I wanted to host it again this year just to reiterate the fact that even the smallest amount of help can go a long way.”

The mass of plastic debris is steadily increasing every year, she said — the effect of which was fatal on the oceans’ environment and countless sea life.

She said people tended to be “quite blasé about the issue of rubbish”, but there were many people in the Wairarapa community who were willing to help out.

At the clean-up last year about 120 people went off into groups.

150kg of rubbish was picked up at last year's event. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
150kg of rubbish was picked up at last year’s event. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

“Most people came back with a sack full of rubbish and they were all so shocked that they could find so much at a beach that, on the surface, looks so clean.

“And about 80 per cent of it is plastic.”

The 19-year-old hopes to get more people involved with the clean-up this year and has partnered with the owners of the Castlepoint Store who have helped with the groundwork of the event while Chayla has been up in Whangamata.

“I want to get more people involved with it this year. I’ve had emails from the Lansdowne Scout Group and they’re all coming out.

“Hopefully we can get a few more people.”

The clean-up will start at 10am on Saturday November 11, with people congregating at the Castlepoint Store.

Looking forwards, Chayla hopes to make a career from her environmental passions.

“I’ve been asked to represent New Zealand for a World Clean-up Day,” she said.

“At some stage either late next year or the year after, we are hoping to all meet in Greece and have like a big meeting with all the representatives of each country involved.

“I’m going to focus on that because I’d like to get involved with related organisations and make a living out of it.”

Her advice for Wairarapa youth was to focus on a goal or vision, and stick to it.

“You might not reach your goal very fast, but you just need to take one small step at a time.”


  • Chayla is still looking for sponsorship for spot prizes for the beach clean-up event.
    To get involved, contact [email protected]

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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