Operation Tidy Fox - by The Heart School

Here is Theo in front of his van ‘Albie’. Theo is The Heart School’s ‘behind the scenes’ linchpin and the catalyst for the Heart School Kindness KETE.

When the big earthquake struck Christchurch in 2011 he and a mate jumped in his van with tools and donations and drove to Christchurch door knocking in the streets and helping distraught residents. Once again New Zealand is appealing for volunteers on a large scale. And once again Theo has jumped in his van to answer the kindness call. He told us “I can’t change the world single handedly but I can have a hand in it”. Theo has gone to volunteer at Operation Tidy Fox.

Theo is ‘filling the KETE’ picking up rubbish at Fox Beach in Westland. In March the Fox River landfill partially washed away during an extraordinary flood event. Operation Tidy Fox is a massive push to clean up the Fox River before the annual Spring floods set in and wash tonnes rubbish out to sea causing polluting the Tauparaka and Hautai marine reserves, parts of UNESCO World Heritage Area. It’s a race against time and volunteers are urgently needed. Theo’s spontaneous acts of kindness ‘birthed’ the Kindness KETE.

Here’s his feedback from his first couple of days: “Weather was just holding out for us. Large crew (100 +). Lunch and dinner and accommodation provided. Transfers sorted too. Well organised. At first glance, looking over the riverbed you don’t see the rubbish (95% plastic). It’s all caught up in the branches and under stumps. We covered a large area today. Amazing how fast it goes with a big team. I picked 7 bags today. Alike the coffee bean bags. We rip them out in these very large polyester garden bags which the army collects with a crane fixed to a truck. It’s hard on the body. Uneven terrain and crouching down a lot. It gets a bit frosty at times too! Picking up even 'diehards' that offered itself up for recycling!

Last day: Finished my 10 day volunteering today. Counting the sacks I’ve filled I would have picked close to 1 ton of rubbish. I’ll travel to the Motueka area tomorrow to visit our friends. Picton ferry on Saturday 2pm. Look forward being back home.