New national environmental partnership embraces global commitment to ‘living with water’

Suntory’s global Mizuiku programme officially partners with ‘Upstream Battle’

Auckland, 23rd May 2023:
Iconic Kiwi charity Keep New Zealand Beautiful today welcomes global beverage manufacturer Suntory as an official partner of its successful citizen science programme ‘Upstream Battle’. This partnership combines Keep New Zealand Beautiful’s dedication to protecting our waterways and oceans with Suntory’s internationally recognised Mizuiku Education Programme for Nature and Water.

Upstream Battle enables students and individuals across Aotearoa to collect and audit litter at key upstream sites such as rivers, lakes and streams to foster a better understanding of how rubbish enters our waterways, contributing to the root cause of ocean pollution.

With the support of Suntory’s Mizuiku programme, Keep New Zealand Beautiful will be able to develop additional Upstream Battle resources and appoint a dedicated Educational Facilitator to deliver in-classroom learning about the water cycle. These developments will extend the programme’s reach to over 200 primary schools nationwide.

Frucor Suntory Oceania CEO Darren Fullerton says the company was seeking an education partner to bring Mizuiku, Suntory’s signature global water education programme to New Zealand.

“At the core of our Suntory business is a deep respect for water and commitment to protect this vital resource.

“Our partnership with Keep New Zealand Beautiful on Upstream Battle brings together the core principles of Mizuiku with a well-established citizen science initiative to create positive change with the next generation in New Zealand.”

Mizuiku, translated from Suntory’s native Japanese, literally means water education and the programme teaches students the importance of water by deepening their understanding of the natural water cycle and how it relates to their daily lives. It also teaches our tamariki how to use water responsibly and the relationship between water and biodiversity.

Originating in Japan in 2004 and having since expanded to Vietnam, Spain, Thailand, Indonesia, France and China, and now New Zealand, the Mizuiku programme – tailored for each country – has welcomed over 320,800 children and teachers to participate around the world.

In announcing the partnership, Keep New Zealand Beautiful CEO Heather Saunderson noted the strong synergies between Suntory’s Mizuiku programme and Upstream Battle.

“We’re delighted to have the backing of such a prominent global water education initiative to strengthen our international citizen science offering,” she said.

“Keep New Beautiful shares a strong common ambition with Suntory’s Mizuiku programme which aims to teach the next generation about the value of fresh, pollution-free water.”

Saunderson adds, “With litter in our waterways posing a huge risk to both humans and wildlife, our Upstream Battle programme aims to identify the root causes of this pollution which ultimately ends up in our moana.

“Our partnership with Suntory’s Mizuiku programme will help us to reach more schools across New Zealand, with the appointment of a dedicated Educational Facilitator. It will also help us to strengthen the global collaboration of our Upstream Battle programme and build an international perspective on the root cause of water pollution.”

Schools across New Zealand are able to sign up now to take part in the ‘Upstream Battle presented by Mizuiku.’ The programme can be taught by teachers via the online resources or via a Keep New Zealand Beautiful Education Facilitator.

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About Keep New Zealand Beautiful’s Upstream Battle Programme

Launched in mid-2022 and aimed at schools, community groups and volunteers across New Zealand, Upstream Battle provides a secondary data set to Keep New Zealand Beautiful’s National Litter Audit. Based on, and in collaboration with Keep Scotland Beautiful’s resources, Upstream Battle is designed to be an accessible but scientifically robust way that Kiwis can contribute to building a data-driven solution to Aotearoa’s litter problem. Within the first year, the programme has already proven a success with over 90 schools, environmental groups and individuals nationwide registering to complete an Upstream Battle audit.

For more information:

About Suntory’s Mizuiku Programme

Suntory’s Mizuiku Education Programme for Nature and Water has been designed for the next generation. The objective of the programme is to help children to realise the beauty of nature and the importance of water, to inspire them to honour the forests that nurture the groundwater, and to think about what they can do to ensure there is water in the future.

The Suntory Group started Mizuiku in Japan in 2004 and since then the programme has expanded into Vietnam, Spain, Thailand, Indonesia, France and China – and now New Zealand. With tailored programmes for each country, Mizuiku has been well-received by children and teachers that participated in the programme, as well as by respective local governments. As of 2021, more than 320,800 children and teachers have participated in the Mizuiku programme globally.

About Frucor Suntory

Proudly part of Japanese beverage and food company Suntory, Frucor Suntory manufactures, markets and distributes a range of fruit juices, fruit drinks, energy drinks, waters and soft drinks. The company produces more than 30 million cases of drinks a year at its New Zealand-based manufacturing plant. The diverse beverage portfolio includes iconic brands such as V Energy, Suntory BOSS Coffee, Maximus, h2go, Just Juice, The Real McCoy, Fresh Up and IS also the bottling partner to PepsiCo for its range of products in New Zealand.

Frucor Suntory employs a diverse team of over 1,000 people across Australia and New Zealand. Committed to Suntory’s vision of Growing for Good, at every opportunity the team aims to work in harmony with people and nature across our operations and community programs.

Please visit the Frucor Suntory website for further information:

Media enquiries can be directed to Mike Buddle, Communications Manager at

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