Award winners

Meet the 15 winners of the 2016 Taranaki Regional Council Environmental Awards.

Education Business Community Land management Dairy farming

Environmental action in education

Huiakama School - for practical environmental learning programmes and initiatives.

Learning and working together to care for the environment has become a passion for Huiakama School students and their families and teachers. Practical environmental initiatives are part of daily school activities and encourage students to think about what can also be done at home. Video profile

Bill Clarkson - for inspiring students to learn about, grow and care for Taranaki’s indigenous plants.

Over many years, teacher and native plant enthusiast Bill Clarkson has inspired thousands of students to learn about, grow and care for Taranaki’s indigenous plants, particularly regionally distinctive and threatened species. He established a propagation and learning programme at Moturoa School 20 years ago and still runs it today. He also works with other schools including Vogeltown and Frankley. Video profile

Project Hotspot - for engaging the community with science by collecting and sharing data online on endangered coastal species and their threats.

Project Hotspot is an outstanding example of citizen science. Coastal recreational groups, school children, and other members of the public have recorded more than 450 sightings online of four threatened coastal species — orca, reef heron, little blue penguin and New Zealand fur seal. The project has a strong educational focus, with many schools involved. Video profile

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Te taiao me te pākihi – Environmental leadership in business

Todd Energy Ltd - for innovative wellsite design and construction methods to effectively control and treat stormwater at the Mangahewa-G wellsite.

Todd Energy used innovative techniques and set new industry benchmarks during the construction and operation of the Mangahewa-G wellsite near Tikorangi. They developed a large silt and sediment retention system to control and reduce the concentration of contaminants in stormwater and to minimise the effects of offsite discharges. The innovative system goes well beyond the standard design. Video profile

New Plymouth District Council - for waste and recycling education, increasing community participation in recycling and reducing waste disposal to landfill.

Since a new kerbside waste collection and recycling service was introduced in New Plymouth District in October 2015, monthly recycling has increased from 13% to 48% of kerbside waste. That translates to almost six thousand tonnes of waste being diverted from landfill each year, significantly reducing potential environmental effects. Community engagement and education on recycling and waste minimisation have been key elements in the success of this project. Video profile

Shell New Zealand He Tāngata, He Tāngata, He Tāngata Project - for using innovative technology to protect the marine environment by avoiding discharges during refurbishment of the Pohokura offshore platform.

In 2015, Shell New Zealand refurbished its Pohokura offshore platform, which services New Zealand’s largest natural gas resource. More than 100 workers were housed temporarily on a rig beside the platform as they painted the entire structure and overhauled equipment and wells. Shell took a Goal Zero approach: To cause no harm to people, to protect the environment, and minimise the impact on local communities.Video profile

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Environmental action in the community

South Taranaki Underwater Club - for engaging the community with science and education on protection of the marine environment through the South Taranaki Reef Life Project.

The South Taranaki Underwater Club is bringing together local community groups, iwi, schools, fishers, divers, scientists and engineers to study the rich marine life on a sub-tidal reef 11 kilometres off Patea. The survey aims to record the reef community, identify factors that shape it and record seasonal trends. Citizen scientists spend a vast amount of volunteer time surveying and documenting the reef community. Video profile

Rapanui Grey-Faced Petrel Trust - for protecting the significant grey-faced petrel colony by maintaining a predator-free sanctuary.

Rapanui, on the coast north of Tongaporutu, is Taranaki’s only mainland nesting site for the grey-faced petrel. The colony was near extinction in 2002 and concerned individuals and sponsors built a 460-metre predator-proof fence to protect the birds. This project led to the formation of the Rapanui Grey-Faced Petrel Trust. Protected from predators, the birds, rare plants and other native species have thrived at the site. Video profile

Trina Stanley - for advocating pest plant control in the New Plymouth community and native replanting along the Mangaotuku Stream.

Trina Stanley is a dedicated advocate for pest plant control in her New Plymouth community. She understands how invasive plants thrive in New Plymouth’s temperate climate and actively promotes awareness of pest plant control. Her vigilance is also helpful in identifying pest plants on public land. Trina has encouraged landowners along the Mangaotuku Stream to remove pest plants. Video profile

Pātea Planting Trust - for working with the community to restore native ecosystems along the Pātea estuary.

The Pātea Planting Trust was formed in 2013 with a vision of re-establishing a ribbon of native habitat along the walkway beside the river, from the town bridge to the sea. It’s won strong support from the local community and beyond. An area that could easily have become a weedy wasteland is being restored to a healthy coastal habitat for native insects, birds and lizards. More than 4,000 seedlings have been planted. Video profile

Otaraua Hapū and Waitara Alive - for engaging the community with science and education on the marine environment through the Waitara Kaimoana Survey 2016.

Otaraua Hapū and Waitara Alive have brought together members of the Waitara community to help them learn about and respect the local marine environment. Through scientific monitoring, learning tikanga and capturing the narrative of local seniors and kaumātua, they are increasing the knowledge and understanding of the Waitara reefs, a valuable source of physical and cultural sustenance for the people of Waitara. “Titiro tui muri, haere whakamua” — Look backwards to move forward. Video profile

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Environmental leadership in land management

Ken and Sandra Sandford - for environmental stewardship and sustainable land management.

Ken and Sandra Sandford are sustainably farming their 386-hectare sheep and beef unit at Hurleyville in South Taranaki, where they’re implementing a farm plan with the support of Taranaki Regional Council staff. To help control erosion on steep hills, they’ve planted four hectares of forestry, and fenced and retired 12.3 hectares of grazed land, 12.6 hectares of native bush and 8.5 hectares of manuka forestry. This involved 2.7 kilometres of fencing. They’ve also planted 261 poplar poles. The Sandfords have maintained their stocking rate even though the total grazing area has been reduced. Video profile

McLean and Tuffery families - for environmental stewardship, including riparian protection and enhancement of the Mimi estuary and tributaries.

Artists John McLean and Howard Tuffery and their families recognise the exceptional recreational, cultural and biodiversity value of the Mimi estuary bordering their jointly owned property. It’s an important habitat for whitebait and for wading birds, and contains distinctive native flora and threatened fauna. Since 1986, the two families have voluntarily worked with the Council and other agencies to protect and enhance the estuary, its tributaries and surrounding wetlands. Video profile

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Environmental leadership in dairy farming

Taranaki Agricultural Research Station Trust and the Luff family - for environmental stewardship and sustainable dairy farming, including riparian management.

The Taranaki Agricultural Research Station Trust and the Luff family are committed to protecting and enhancing the environment on the 120-hectare research farm at Whareroa, near Hawera. Almost all waterways and wetlands on the farm are fenced and in the past four years 89% of the streambank has been planted with 11,000 riparian plants. The job will be finished next year. The farm, which is owned by the family and operated by the Trust, is also in the Council’s self-help possum control scheme and recycles silage wrap. Video profile

Philip and Donna Cram - for environmental stewardship and sustainable dairy farming, including riparian management.

Philip and Donna Cram are passionate about farming sustainably on their 117-hectare dairy farm at Awatuna. In the past 10 years the couple have completely fenced their streambanks and protected 3.3 kilometres, or 61 per cent, of them with 4,500 native plants.  By planning ahead and chipping away at a manageable amount of about 600 plants each year, the Crams are well on track to meet the 2020 completion target. The fencing and planting helps stock management, protects water quality and enhances the native habitat. Video profile

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