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Two hapū NRC’s 2020 supreme environmental award winners

19 Jun 2020, 7:40 AM

Two decades of tireless work to restore Rākaumangamanga (Cape Brett) has been recognised with the two small hapū involved named supreme award winners at this year’s Northland Regional Council ‘Whakamānawa ā Taiao - Environmental Awards’.

Patukeha and Ngāti Kuta hapū’s work in the eastern Bay of Islands netted both ‘Te Tohu Matua – Supreme Award’ and the ‘Kaitiakitanga Award’ at the second annual Environmental Awards, livestreamed via Facebook Thursday 18 June.

The awards recognise Northlanders’ valuable environmental work, in the case of the two hapū their tireless work over two decades to reduce pests and restore bush and birdlife at Rākaumangamanga.

The judges noted that as kaitiaki, the hapu had endured many changes and challenges during their lengthy quest to restore bush and birdlife for future generations.

Council Chair Penny Smart says the NRC received 28 applications for the awards which recognise and celebrate the ‘can-do’ attitudes and remarkable contributions people from all walks of life make year-after-year to help the region’s environment.

(Entry had been open to all sectors including individuals, community groups, schools, tangata whenua, businesses and leaders. Projects, activities and contributions had to be located within Northland and demonstrate significant benefit to the region’s environment.)

Chair Smart says this year’s awards were designed to recognise environmental action in kaitiakitanga, the community, pest management, education, water quality improvement, industry and leadership.

The 2020 winners were:

Environmental action in the community; Friends of Rangikapiti.
Project bringing communities and cultures together to restore maunga and bush reserve at Rangikapiti (a former pa site on a Doubtless Bay headland) to its original state.

Environmental action in pest management; Bream Head Conservation Trust.
Community effort to restore the biodiversity values of a headland through sustained and intensive pest control.

Environmental action in industry; United Civil Construction.
For delivering a major civil works project (the $182 million Ngāwhā geothermal plant) in an ecologically sensitive environment without adverse environmental effects.

Environmental action in education; Portland School – Te Kura o Tikorangi.
For environmental mahi embracing tree planting, water quality testing and pest control that shows what can be achieved when a community comes together with a common and lasting goal.

Environmental action in water quality improvement; Dragonfly Springs Wetland Sanctuary.
Jeremy Busck has worked since the 1990s to transform six hectares of junk-filled swamp into a wetland and educational asset.

Environmental leadership; Ian Wilson and John Dawn.
Ian Wilson and John Dawn, together with the Puketi Trust, local iwi and neighbouring landowners, oversee trapping in more than 5000 hectares of Puketi Forest.

Kaitiakitanga (and overall ‘Te Tohu Matua – Supreme Award’); Patukeha and Ngāti Kuta hapū.
A labour of love over two decades by two small hapu to reduce pests and restore bush and birdlife to Cape Brett.

Category winners will each be presented with a trophy, certificate and a $1000 cash prize and the Te Tohu Matua – Supreme Award winners receive an additional trophy they can hold for one year.

Further details of the awards, winners (and some highly commended entrants) is available at: www.nrc.govt.nz/environmentalawards