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About 100 people gathered at 10.30 yesterday morning to hear a safety briefing before they set off along the riverbank armed with bin liners to fill with refuse and sporting blue-gloved hands to protect from contamination.
The rain and cold did not stop David and Lucy (10) Hart from doing their bit because the family was determined to help out, no matter what the weather.
"We thought we would have a nice family day and do something useful for a change," Mr Hart said. "We're hoping to fill the whole bag up before we get really cold."
Lucy said she was having fun but reckoned the cold wind made it more difficult.
Some of those who volunteered had seen the riverbanks were in need of a cleanup and that was the incentive to attend the event.
Tim Fogarty said he regularly used the walkway - "I come for runs down here a lot and I'd noticed all the rubbish."
However, he said there wasn't as much as he had expected, saying: "It wasn't too bad actually, it's quite surprising we haven't found any big bottles or anything, it's all been little bits of plastic."
The amount of rubbish collected should be announced early this week.
This year's National Volunteer Week theme is "Whiria te tangata - weaving the people together".