No stopping Karen and Nick when it comes to rubbish! LOVE Whangarei Monthly Clean Ups and F.O.R.C.E June 2019


Nicholas Connop resting on a mountain of flyers dumped in a local lookout reserve

Karen Lee and Nicholas Connop are the two amazing people determined to clean up our city here in Whangārei. Love Whangārei Monthly Clean Up started with Karen in October 2017. It took a new direction in February 2018 partnering with Nicholas and has grown exponentially ever since. The parent group F.O.R.C.E. (For Our Real Clean Environment) is now a fully fledged charitable trust since December 2018. With strong community links and backing from the local council and Mayor, it can call itself a major player in Whangārei.

It seems there is no stopping these two when it comes to rubbish!

Every month the Love Whangārei Monthly Clean Up choose an area in Whangārei, rally their band of faithful volunteers and get out there and clean it up.

Sometimes they are called out to fix a local problem when it occurs. Yep, you're right Nicholas it’s not a bed. 

As you may have guessed from their user-friendly name the Love Whangārei Monthly Clean Up takes place once a month in Whangārei. Nick and Karen and a bunch of volunteers take to an area of Whangārei and give it a massive clean-up over a 2 hour period. During their November Clean Up in Raumanga they collected over two tonnes of rubbish. This included a full large skip, an additional huge pile of rubbish and a truck load of scrap metal. How impressive is that?

The original LWMCU started out with just a few people taking part a year or so ago. I went to one of the original Clean Ups in Onerahi and the group has since grown to a far-reaching and steady group of volunteers ready to keep their own community spaces clean of rubbish.

All the rubbish pickers are volunteers who have “liked” Nicholas and Karen’s Facebook page and then simply turn up on the day to help collect rubbish. The number of volunteers who turned up for the latest rubbish collection numbered 35 with an average of around 30 people for each Monthly Clean Up. Certificates were awarded and they had scrummy pizza from Hell as a thank you for helping. What more could you ask for ��?

The philosophy behind LWMCU and its parent charity F.O.R.C.E. is “To undertake, facilitate and inspire solutions to waste, to restore a real clean environment for future generations”. A bold and courageous statement which reflects the tag line of LWMCU – Supporting community for a clean environment. So far they are doing a brilliant job of getting Whangārei clean and green.

Without Karen and Nicholas’ initiative Whangārei would have over 9 tonnes more rubbish in the environment than it has now.

If you are interested in joining Nicholas and Karen’s team, find the next scheduled Love Whangārei Monthly Clean Up on their Facebook page or through www.volunteeringnorthland.nz Get your wellies and gloves on and be part of a brilliant initiative.


Story by Janette Morrison volunteer reporter for Volunteering Northland