Conservation Heroes Buy 40 Boxes of Purple Gs

Conservation Heroes Buy 40 Boxes of Purple Gs

Calls for students to support a declining but iconic species

This week, we got a Snapchat of some local conservationists supporting the endangered Purple Goanna. We reached out to these intrepid environmentalists to see what inspired them to make such big sacrifices for such little reptiles. 

When we asked Rico, Angus and Ben how many boxes of Purple Gs they’ve been through, they breezily responded: “How many this year, or how many this weekend?”. At that point, we knew we were off to a good start. The boys polished off eight boxes in the last week, bringing their grand total for the year to just shy of 40. That’s one hell of a conservation effort. Angus, an outspoken Purple G advocate, said that the title of “conservationist” was pretty fitting for their efforts, “but I think my conservation beliefs extend only to the Purple Goanna. I’m not passionate about conservation, I'm passionate about Purple Gs.” 

Purple Gs have been disappearing off shelves for a while, a trend noticed by the boys. They suspected it came down to a “stigma” surrounding the drink. “It’s the judgemental glances. When you're walking out of the liquor store, you just see people look twice and you get a little shake of the head. Or sometimes you're drinking and you park up, and people look at you as if you’re almost like, committing self-harm or something, because they think so little of the Purple G.” Rico told us that “Sometimes you get asked if you're alright, or something, like, ‘Why are you doing that to yourself?’”. According to these passionate conservationists, erasing this stigma is the first step towards bringing back the Purple Gangsta.

While part of the Purple Goanna’s population decline was attributed to stigma, the experts also noted the threat of invasive species, encroaching on what was traditionally Purple G’s exclusive territory. According to Angus: “The market’s overwhelmed with these sort of shitty, recycle-the-same-flavour RTDs. These big brands keep coming out with the same drinks, and they're all the same. Purple Gs are different, but they’ve been pushed out of this niche.”

Once widespread across Ōtepoti, their declining population can now only be found in a small corner of Super Liquor. Struggling to find them on the shelves at Leith Liquor, they asked a friend who works there to enquire with her manager. Apparently, her manager responded with something along the lines of: “Purple Gs? I didn't know they were still around.” Angus said that that was “pretty gutting for us to hear”. 

While the future looks grim, not all hope is lost – and just like any good environmental action, every little bit helps. According to Angus: “I think it would be unrealistic to encourage students to purchase Purple Gs as their primary drink of choice. [The solution] would be to just be a bit more thoughtful and contribute to supporting them every once and a while. Even just once a month.” Rico added that “even if your average student drank Purple Gs just once a semester, that would greatly, greatly benefit the survival of our Purple Goanna.”

So, to all would-be conservationists out there, Angus had one final piece of advice: while the drink may go in purple and come out green, there’s no need to be afraid. “Don't fear the green too much. It's worse than it sounds– Oh, no, haha,” before quickly checking himself. “I mean: it’s not as bad as it sounds.”

This article first appeared in Issue 20, 2022.
Posted 3:02pm Friday 19th August 2022 by Fox Meyer.