Teamwork . . . Happy to be in on the cleaning action is (from left) Heidi Goatley (12), Laura Heads (15), Leah Murray (17) and Natasha Bedwell (18).

Tyres, hub caps, broken glass and plastic were among the items retrieved during the Mataura River Clean Up Day on Saturday.

The event involved about 40 people cleaning the river from Walnut Grove to the Mataura River Bridge.

It was run by the Gore District Youth Council with support from Environment Southland, Hokonui Runanga, Southland Fish and Game and the Gore Catchment Group.

Youth council chairwoman Emily Chamberlain (17) said the clean-up was successful.

“I think we got about eight bags full of rubbish by the end.

“We had a lot more people helping this year and a larger space,” she said.

Before the clean-up, Rodney Grainor, of the Hokonui Runanga, demonstrated the different nets and species which can be found in the river.

Environment Southland environmental education officer Hannah Sim said the weather restricted them from putting nets into the water on the day.

“Rodney brought along fyke nets so people could see what they were,” Miss Sim said.

Fish and Game officer Cohen Stewart demonstrated electric fishing rods and provided information for the community.

“There was a bit of a question and answer on what they do and about some of the pilot programmes they have going at the moment for the community which was great.”

The recently formed Gore Catchment Group provided a barbecue at the end of the clean-up.

“It was great to get the catchment group out there and they’ve got a couple more people wanting to come to their meetings.

“It’s good to get people caring about the river and wanting to get involved to make it better.”

She was pleased with the way the event turned out.

“It’s double the people they had last year and there was a good mix of the youth and elderly around,” Miss Sim said.

Emily said the combination of the organisations coming together worked well.

“It was a really good way to bring the community and helped other people get involved in looking after the river,” Emily said.

Last year’s event was solely run by the youth council and only involved a river clean-up.

Plans were in the works for the event to return next year on a bigger scale.Buy KicksNike News