2021 environmental champions sought

22 Feb 2021, 1:31 PM

The public is once again being asked to put names forward for the Northland Regional Council’s annual ‘Whakamānawa ā Taiao - Environmental Awards’, with a new category this year recognising ‘action in climate change’.

The awards began three years ago as a way of recognising the thousands of people working to improve the north’s environment, many toiling away quietly behind the scenes. A six-week nomination period officially opens Monday, 22 February and runs until early April.

Regional council Chair Penny Smart says the awards were conceived as the NRC’s way of publicly thanking those who worked with councillors and staff in their shared mission to create a healthy environment, strong economy and resilient communities.

“We’ve made no secret of the fact that we simply couldn’t do what we do without their efforts; we think what they’re doing is incredible and it deserves celebrating.”

The 2021 awards are designed to recognise and celebrate kaitiakitanga in action and highlight the commitment and remarkable contributions so many people from all walks of life are making to help the region’s environment thrive.

Examples include efforts to get rid of pests so our native species can flourish, clearing weeds, planting erosion-prone land, stream banks and wetlands, and sustainability projects in schools.

Last year the council received 28 applications, with two decades of tireless work to restore Rākaumangamanga (Cape Brett) securing the two small hapū involved – Patukeha and Ngāti Kuta – both the ‘Te Tohu Matua – Supreme Award’ and the ‘Kaitiakitanga Award’.

This year’s awards cover eight categories: community, pest management, education, water quality improvement, industry, leadership, kaitiakitanga and climate change.

The last is a new category for 2021, recognising action taken to adapt to our changing climate or transition to a low-carbon future for Te Taitokerau.

The council says there’s a huge body of work that could potentially fall into the climate change category, however, just a few examples include:

  • finding innovative ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • mitigating coastal erosion
  • improving drought resilience and water management
  • protecting habitats from the effects of climate change.

Entrants for the wider awards are welcome from all sectors including individuals, community groups, schools, whānau, hapū, iwi, businesses and leaders. Projects, activities and contributions must be located within Northland and demonstrate significant benefit to the region’s environment.

Entries and nominations can be made via www.nrc.govt.nz/environmentalawards and further information is available by emailing the council’s Marketing and Engagement Team [email protected] or calling freephone (0800) 002 004.

It’s free to enter and people can nominate themselves or others who have agreed to put their names forward. Entries close at 5pm on Tuesday 6 April, 2021.

Finalists will receive a certificate and tickets to an official awards ceremony function in Kerikeri on Thursday 27 May, and inclusion in the awards and associated communications.

“Award winners in each category will receive a $1000 cash prize and trophy and Te Tohu Matua - The Supreme Award winner will receive an additional trophy they can hold for one year.”