International Coastal Clean-up Day, on Saturday 19th September, provided an opportunity to highlight the connection and responsibility we have as people of the Pacific to look after the oceans that connect us. 

The Walshe Group was proud to see our Hawai‘i Tourism Oceania team able to re-start a very special initiative involving New Zealand not-for-profit environmental leader ‘Sea Cleaners’, working with aligned Hawai‘i organisations and local youth leaders to focus on the importance of reducing plastics in the Pacific.  

This year’s partnership saw 10 youth ambassadors (from Australia, New Zealand and Hawai‘i) coming together on the island of O‘ahu to participate in beach clean-ups as well as talks with schools and communities about a collaborative approach to solutions.  

The initiative is aligned with the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority’s strategic direction around regenerative tourism and the concept of mālama which represents taking care of people and place. Mālama aligned tourism experiences were integrated into the schedule to highlight how tourism can play a part in making positive change.  

The group of youth ambassadors were selected through their interest and passion around ocean health and for their potential to influence change. An exchange element will see Hawai‘i youth chosen to visit New Zealand to participate in a similar programme. 

This year’s activities were focussed on the exposed coast on O‘ahu’s northern reaches which bears the impact of the wind and currents that circulate plastics and other debris throughout the Pacific Ocean. 

The initiative included participation and support by a number of partners including Hawaiian Airlines, Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Sustainable Coastlines Hawai‘i, Nā Kama Kai, Take 3 for the Sea and the Consulates of both Australia and New Zealand.  

Darragh Walshe from Hawai‘i Tourism Oceania and Hayden Smith from Sea Cleaners first began this collaboration in 2018 as a way to highlight the impact that local habits in Australia and New Zealand, and all Pacific neighbours, have on this precious expanse of water. The initiative is based around connection. The connection we have as Pacific neighbours. And the connection and collaboration that can be created through travel and exchange. 

“We are pleased to be able to bring this important initiative and inspiring group of youth back to the islands of Hawai‘i after a two year pause” commented Walshe. “And so pleased to be able to align this trip with the important concept of mālama which is the key to the direction tourism needs to be heading.”