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Waikato schoolgirl invents award-winning 'Rubbish Taniwha' to clean waterways

A 12-year-old Waikato schoolgirl has invented a "Rubbish Taniwha" to help clean Kiwi waterways.

Lauren Greer's invention came about after she noticed pollution in the Kaniwhaniwha Stream near her home last summer.

"I was tubing there with my friends and family and I saw a shocking amount of rubbish on the sides and floating past and in the trees and everything," she told Seven Sharp.

This experience led the resourceful youngster to create her Rubbish Taniwha in a bid to clean the river.

"The Taniwha is a guardian of the waterways so I thought that was a really cool name for it, seeing as it is protecting our waterways and cleaning up the rubbish," Lauren said.

Her creation consists of chicken wire and piping and is designed to sit in the water, filtering out rubbish while leaving fish and other wildlife unscathed.

"The rubbish comes down with the current and it gets washed in, I also designed it so eels or fish can't get hurt in it, they can just turn around and swim back out."

Lauren's creation doubled as an entry at the NIWA Waikato Science and Technology Fair, where the Te Pahu School student won the best technology award for students through to Year 13.

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Lauren wants to protect the river running near her rural home near Hamilton. Source: Seven Sharp