Three achieve coveted Green-Gold Enviroschools’ status

19 Jul 2021, 10:18 AM

Two Northland schools and a kindergarten have achieved prestigious ‘Green-Gold’ status through the national Enviroschools programme, recognising their school/centre-wide approach to sustainability.

Chair Penny Smart with children.Regional council chair Penny Smart with Amaliya Hemmington (4) at Ruawai Kindergarten’s Green-Gold celebration.Ruawai Kindergarten, Kerikeri’s Riverview School and Oruaiti School near Mangonui have all reached Green-Gold in recent months, the first time three Northland Enviroschools have all been recognised with the status within a 12-month period.

The regional council introduced the popular programme to Northland in 2004 and there are now more than 130 schools, kindergartens and early childhood centres in the programme region wide.

Council chair Penny Smart says becoming a Green-Gold Enviroschool is a significant milestone in a school’s/centre's sustainability journey.

“At Green-Gold level an Enviroschool feels like a living ecosystem, learners take the lead in their action and the wider community is supported with skilled gardeners, beekeepers and pest controllers.”

She says Enviroschools’ recognition comes in three bands, from the most-often awarded Bronze, through to Silver and the rarest Green-Gold.

The last Northland Enviroschool to achieve the coveted Green-Gold was Comrie Park Kindergarten in 2018 and the latest recipients bring to 10 the number of Enviroschools to have achieved the status Northland-wide.

Ruawai Kindergarten celebrated its Green-Gold status earlier this month, (02 July) at an event Chair Smart, their local regional councillor, attended.

Councillor Marty Robinson is due to attend a similar celebration scheduled for Oruaiti School on Monday 02 August and he and council colleague Joce Yeoman will also visit Riverview School for its event on Thursday 05 August.

Chair Smart acknowledged all the ‘incredible hard work and time’ that went into achieving Green-Gold by the trio, and their Enviroschools facilitators from council and Northland Kindergarten Association.

Susan Karels, the council’s Enviroschools Regional Co-ordinator, says among the three Enviroschools’ key strengths are an unfailing whole school/centre dedication to sustainability, evidenced by a wide array of initiatives from creating kai forests and keeping bees and ducks, to awa and wetland restoration.

All three also worked closely with local tangata whenua and incorporate a Māori world view into their daily operations.

More information on the wider Enviroschools programme in Northland is available from:

Children looking a celebration cake.

Youngsters from Ruawai Kindergarten surrounding a cake celebrating their new Enviroschools’ Green-Gold status.