2021 environmental champions named

28 May 2021, 11:51 AM

Experiencing Marine Reserves – Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust has been named Te Tohu Matua-Supreme Award winner of Northland Regional Council’s annual ‘Whakamānawa ā Taiao - Environmental Awards’.

Samara Nicolas - (Jess Burges Photograph)Samara Nicholas, Experiencing Marine Reserves – Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust (Photo: Jess Burges).

The trust – one of 47 entries received this year – secured the top award, announced at a ceremony attended by about 200 people at Kerikeri’s Turner Centre Thursday, 27 May.

This year’s awards covered eight categories: community, pest management, education, water quality improvement, industry, leadership, kaitiakitanga and a new category, environmental action in climate change, the latter won by the Kerikeri branch of the Carbon Neutral NZ Trust.

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 ran from late February until early April 2021.

Regional council Chair Penny Smart says the awards are the NRC’s way of recognising and thanking those who share council’s mission to create a healthy environment, strong economy and resilient communities.

“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 Northland’s environment thrive.”

In their comments on the Supreme Award winner the judges said Northland “should be proud to have an organisation like this” which had operated for 21 years with
consistently good outcomes.

The trust spanned marine conservation and marine biosecurity and was constantly tackling new initiatives in very difficult areas.

“Their dedication and the outcomes they have achieved, not only over a long period of time, but every year going forward is outstanding.”

In their comments on Kerikeri’s Carbon Neutral NZ Trust, the judges noted it had designed a carbon calculator from scratch, was tackling behaviour change, engaging with community on greenhouse gas reduction and had a visionary goal to declare Kerikeri carbon neutral.

Award winners in each category received a $1000 cash prize and trophy and the Supreme Award winner received an additional trophy they can hold for one year.

The full list of 2021 award winners is:

  • Environmental action in the community and Te Tohu Matua-Supreme Award; Experiencing Marine Reserves – Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust
  • Environmental action in pest management; Pest Free Peninsulas Kaipara
  • Environmental action in education; Oruaiti School
  • Environmental action in water quality improvement; Ngaitakoto Taiao team
  • Leadership; Tiaki Nga Wai o Hokianga / Hokianga Harbour Care Incorporated Society
  • Kaitiakitanga; Tohe Ashby; Kauri Dieback Project
  • Environmental action on climate change; Carbon Neutral NZ Trust - Kerikeri Branch
  • Industry; NZ Sustainable Farming Ltd.

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