Leading by example
22 September 2010
The Three Kings resident has received a Community Hero Award from the Auckland City Council for her efforts at Owairaka Park.
Miss Climo co-ordinates clean up sessions and has also managed to educate youth about the negative impact of tagging.
"They come up to me and say: `That's somebody's artwork you're cleaning off' and I explain that it's not art, it's vandalism and it's illegal," she says.
"I'd give them some spray and cloths and gloves and away they go."
Miss Climo wasn't aware she could do anything about graffiti until a year ago.
"I asked the council: `What can I do?'
"It was everywhere and it really grated me. It's such a blight on our city."
Miss Climo says with support from lots of volunteers and paint donated by Resene – which received a commerce award for its help – the city is now 97 percent graffiti-free.
"If we can get rid of it in 24 hours, it costs them their pocket money and they don't even bother coming back. I think they've given up at this park," she says.
"Owairaka Park is well set up but hopefully other people will see what we're doing and go back and do it in their neighbourhoods. If members of the community really own their parks and take pride in them, they will help keep them clean. Then others are more likely to respect these places."
Miss Climo also volunteers for Neighbourhood Support Auckland City, which won an award.
"In the past there has been some sort of misunderstanding that we're a vigilante militia. We're not.
"Neighbourhood Support is about encouraging community spirit and looking out for one another. We are always on the look-out for volunteers because we are very short of area co-ordinators."
Council acting manager of street amenity services Rob Shields says Miss Climo's work at Owairaka is deserving of a trophy.
"People like Emma-Jane and nearly 800 other anti-graffiti volunteers who are rapidly removing graffiti within their communities help to send a clear message that anti-social behaviour like graffiti vandalism will not be tolerated," he says.
More than 40 nominees across seven categories were recognised for work carrying out injury prevention, road safety, crime prevention and community safety initiatives in Auckland.
Other winners include May Road Primary School for its road safety DVD, non-profit organisation Shine for its work with domestic violence, a Wesley community youth programme called There's a Better Way and a chaplaincy network called Red Frogs.