Tagata Pasifika

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Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Auckland graffiti-cleaning charity steps out on its own

The Manukau Beautification Charitable Trust have been removing illegal graffiti in south Auckland since 2001. Photo: Supplied
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Local Democracy Reporting | Free Public Interest News Service

By Torika Tokalau of Local Democracy Reporting

A trust working to remove graffiti from south Auckland streets has stepped away from operating as council-controlled organisation (CCO) to save money.

The Manukau Beautification Charitable Trust (Beautification Trust) will now operate as a trust and social enterprise.

Beautification Trust chief executive Daniel Barthow said the trust didn’t fit into council’s framework for a traditional CCO any more, and there was no purpose for them to remain one.

“We’ve been preparing to step away from the council group (as a CCO) for a while to help us reduce our administrative costs and operate more efficiently,” Barthow said.

“Our partnership with Manukau City Council and then Auckland Council has been positive and supportive, and we’re in a good position to move forward on our own.”

Remaining as a charitable trust meant profit could be reinvested into the work they do in the community, he said.

“As a council-controlled organisation, there’s an extra level of governance that needs to be done in terms of approving trustees, extra reporting required.”

Originally established in 1997 as Keep Manukau Beautiful, the trust was tasked by then Manukau City Council in 2001 to deal with the enormous amount of graffiti in the area.

Dubbed the ‘graffiti capital of the South Pacific’ back then, Barthow said it was impossible to see an untagged fence.

“It was absolutely ridiculous … now you drive in south Auckland and there’s hardly tags on fences, dairies, or anything on the scope of Auckland Council, which is recognising how quickly it is removed.”

Last year, the trust removed 25,692 illegal graffiti in south and east Auckland.

Barthow said they removed graffiti from council buildings, public toilets, playgrounds, public parks, reserves, road signs, lamp posts and even fences of residential properties.

The trust also carried out education programmes for local schools, started a community recycling centre with an on-site op-shop and pātaka kai.

They also started a community tool library, the Boomer Shed, whose members build dozens of trikes using recycled wheels for kindergartens throughout south Auckland.

“Our trust has great momentum and presence in south Auckland, including our annual Eye on Nature Wearable Arts fashion show – which embodies our active focus on environmental education.”

Council’s CCO direction and oversight committee chair Shane Henderson recently recognised the trust for its service to south and east Auckland.

“Beautification Trust creates jobs, reduces waste and educates young people – how good is that,” Henderson said.

“I’m sure we’ll continue to be impressed by how they grow and evolve.”

Local democracy reporting

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