In the past couple weeks we’ve called upon residents of Waiheke to help us create sea creatures out of plastic to use in our float at the Santa Parade this past Saturday. Using all kinds of plastics and cans collected in our homes, the homes of helpful friends, and from the transfer station, we made over a dozen different creatures. Materials included plastic bottles, aluminum cans, various food packaging, plastic spoons, bottle tops, buttons, styrofoam packing inserts, candy wrappers, Disney themed dominos, a right jandal, toothbrushes, the sole of an old sneaker and many other random bits of plastics. Children and adults alike transformed these materials often thought of as rubbish into artwork.

The star of the show was a whale, over four meters long, created during a special event at the Waiheke Sustainability Centre that included a bottle drive and sea-stainable sushi in addition to crafting. We invited children and their parents to help us create this massive creature, and the community did not disappoint. People were able to work on small areas of the whale, sticking on all sorts of materials. Other sea creatures include a seahorse made from several soda cans, several fish decorated with bottle caps and soft plastics to look like scales, a smaller whale, turtles, jellyfish made from old umbrellas, a jellyfish made from a plastic bag, and signs. Hard workers were able to enjoy delicious sea-stainable sushi, made without fish, as a reward for their hard work.

On several occasions we brought the crafting materials into primary school classrooms at the Te Huruhi School to work with students in grades two, three, and four to make sea creatures and signs to walk in our float at the parade. We worked with over 130 students to create sea creatures as well as honey wraps to help keep single-use Glad wrap out of the ocean. Some of these students were then able to join us in the Santa Parade, walking their own creations along the route.

We all had a great time at the Santa Parade, with around fifty members of the community joining us to highlight the plight of having plastics end up in the ocean. Our parade float was also a zero waste event, with zero waste volunteers picking up bits of trash as they walked along the route. We were awarded the prize for best community group.

Thank you to all those who helped us in any way these past couple weeks as we’ve been preparing for the parade, through volunteering your time, making sea creatures, or walking with us in the parade!

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