New start-up encourages Kiwis to become Guardians of the Hauraki Gulf

The Hauraki Gulf
The site allows people to help out with conservation efforts surrounding the Hauraki Gulf. Photo credit: Getty

A new Kiwi start-up is encouraging the public to become 'Guardians of the Gulf', contributing to campaigns and charities to clean up the Hauraki Gulf through a reward system.

The website's slogan is "Save the Hauraki Gulf. Earn rewards," gives the public the chance to make positive change, with participants rewarded for getting involved by businesses including Resene, Atomic Coffee, Big Street Bikers and Ecostore.

It comes after reports released earlier this year show the Gulf is struggling to keep up with the effects of population growth and climate change. The State of the Hauraki Gulf 2017 report says unprecedented pollution and population growth is causing huge harm to wildlife and beaches.

According to the report's estimates, the Gulf supports 45 percent less fish than it did in 1925.

A black backed gull on the shores of the water.
A black backed gull on the shores of the water. Photo credit: Shaun Lee.

Guardians of the Gulf is the first website of its kind and aims to be a game changer in terms of using technology to mobilise Kiwis to make positive change.

For example, donating $5 to the efforts gets you a free Atomic coffee, or that amount off a year's subscription to Good magazine. The stakes are raised as the donations do.

Three not-for-profit organisations (The Sir Peter Blake Trust, The Kiwi Bottle Drive and The Waiheke Resource Trust) have come on board to launch the site with three initial campaigns  a petition to bring back a bottle deposit system, an education forum at a Waiheke café serving only recycled food, and a virtual reality programme used to educate Kiwi kids about keeping oceans clean.

A plastic bottle lying on the beach.
A plastic bottle lying on the beach. Photo credit: Shaun Lee.

EcoMatters Environment Trust CEO, Damon Birchfield, has been helping to develop the platform and says his hope is for Guardians of the Gulf to demonstrate that individuals, businesses and not- for-profits can work together to achieve environmental good utilising quality digital tools and ideas.

"We are excited by the prospect of what the new platform can bring to market," he said.

"With the fantastic support of [local] businesses, Guardians of the Gulf will test if offering rewards from these companies is incentive enough to convert Kiwis to take action and support cleaning up the Hauraki Gulf.

"Guardians of the Gulf has the potential to be a win-win for everybody, business, the community,and of course the marine environment itself - which we know is in desperate need of some love."

You can check out the site and contribute here

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