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Almost 40 finalists for new community environmental awards

30 Apr 2019, 1:12 PM

More than 90 nominations have been made for new local authority awards recognising the people and organisations working hard to protect and enhance Northland’s environment.

The Northland Regional Council (NRC) is thrilled with the interest in its inaugural ‘Environmental Awards 2019’, revealing 39 of those nominated had been named as finalists for one of eight awards up for grabs at a ceremony to be held in Whangarei on Thursday, 23 May.

Council Deputy Chairman David Sinclair says the eight awards categories cover a broad range of environmental enhancement projects and activities, while a ninth ‘Supreme Award’ will also presented to the most outstanding entry.

“The finalists represent a real cross section from right across the region – including individuals, groups and community group leaders, iwi, farmers, forestry and schools – and council’s thrilled with the strong interest shown.”

A month-long nomination period had closed 31 March and in the several weeks that followed, a great deal of work had been done by a four-strong panel of internal staff and external experts to review all 93 nominations, which had included a raft of supporting information, photos and videos.

Judges had included Chris Jenkins (local environmental champion and a former Department of Conservation veteran), Mike Kake (representing the Tai Tokerau Maori and Council Working Party) and NRC staff Don McKenzie (Biosecurity Manager) and Tess Dacre (Compliance Monitoring Manager).

“We’re extremely grateful to our judging panel for their efforts in tackling what turned out to be a more demanding task than originally anticipated due to the strong level of community interest.”

Council Sinclair says the council had originally hoped to secure several dozen entries but to receive just a few short of 100 in its first year was a remarkable achievement and a credit to all those involved, both nominees and organisers.

“Essentially, the awards are about recognising and celebrating kaitiakitanga in action and a chance to highlight the ‘can-do’ attitudes and remarkable contributions large numbers of Northlanders from all walks of life are making to help our environment thrive.”

He hopes the awards will be an annual event and is looking forward to seeing the number of entries showcasing all that is happening in Northland increasing even further in the years to come.

The award categories cover environmental action in:

  • the community
  • pest management
  • education
  • water quality improvement
  • industry
  • leadership
  • innovation
  • kaitiakitanga

A full list of finalists is available now on the council’s website at www.nrc.govt.nz/environmentalawards

All finalists will receive a certificate and tickets to the official May awards ceremony.

“Additionally, award winners in each category will receive a $1000 cash prize and trophy and the Supreme Award winner will receive an extra trophy they can hold for one year.”

Councillor Sinclair says a public field day will also be held later this year for winners to share their knowledge and experience and showcase their work with the rest of the community.