In 2011, a group of Dunedin students gathered together, united by a passion for the environment and determination to protect it.
The result? ‘Our Seas Our Future’; a volunteer-driven non-profit initiative advocating for the conservation of coastal and marine areas.
We sat down with Noel Jhinku, the Founder of OSOF to talk about the impact that Noel & his team are making to protect New Zealand’s coastal and marine eco-systems.
Who is behind OSOF?
OSOF is a 100% volunteer-run organisation using the power of skilled volunteers to carry out community engagement and education projects across the regions, as well as policy work. OSOF is a NZ registered charity and is governed by a Trust Board made up of professionals from a wide range of backgrounds.
Can you remember the moment OSOF was created & how long you've been around?
OSOF was founded in late 2011 in Dunedin and had its origins as a social media campaign to raise awareness of the marine environment and to engage the ever growing online community to learn more about their marine ‘backyard’. Since that time, the OSOF initiative has expanded to cover Christchurch, Wellington, Hawke's Bay, and Auckland regions.
What is your core mission as a team?
Our mission is to protect New Zealand’s coastal and marine ecosystems through advocacy, education, and environmental stewardship, ensuring that they are managed sustainably and protected for future generations.
OSOF’s proudest moment, next big goal & words of wisdom?
OSOF's proudest moment to date was our involvement in the single-use plastic bags campaign. OSOF has been campaigning for marine plastic pollution to be addressed by government, industry, and consumers, with our first petition being initiated and presented to the House of Representatives in 2014 and a Select Committee in 2015.
Further collaborations have all contributed to the phase-out of single-use plastic bags by supermarkets and retailers. Our collaborations resulting in change can be viewed here.
We think that the key to making change is to work together through collaborations and partnerships, and we encourage this is through our work.
What’s your favourite Rethink product & how you use it?
One of our favourites are the Reusable Fresh Produce Bags which are handy to have for those impromptu visits to buy produce.