Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


The 11 winners of Wellington’s inaugural Encore Awards have been challenged to spread the word about their efforts to restore and protect the region’s natural and historic features.

Date:  17 November 2010 Source:  Department of Conservation, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Wellington Hawke's Bay Conservation Board

The 11 winners of Wellington’s inaugural Encore Awards have been challenged to spread the word about their efforts to restore and protect the region’s natural and historic features.

Rimutaka Forest Park, Trelissick Park, Belmont Regional Park, Otaki River, Pauatahanui Inlet and Wellington’s restored High Court have all benefitted from the sustained efforts and strong leadership of groups and individuals recognised through the awards, co hosted by the Department of Conservation, Greater Wellington Regional Council and the Wellington Hawke’s Bay Conservation Board.

The awards recognise groups, businesses, schools and individuals going the extra mile for environmental restoration and conservation in the Wellington region, and consent holders exceeding their compliance requirements to reduce or avoid adverse effects on the environment.

Among this year’s winners are schools in Masterton and Maungaraki that have established worm farms, composting systems, and a chicken coop to reduce waste and save energy, and reintroduced a rare plant.

The sustainability initiatives introduced by Wellington Zoo Trust and Wellington City New World have been acknowledged, as has Winstone Aggregates, for reducing the environmental effects of its operation at the Belmont Quarry.

Greater Wellington deputy chairperson Peter Glensor said the community’s efforts were crucial in stemming the tide of biodiversity loss. He challenged the award winners to tell others what they were doing, and show them how they could improve the biodiversity in their local area and even in their backyard.

“This year is International Year of Biodiversity and with it has come increased exposure about the state of the world’s biodiversity. Scientists have warned that unless we do more to protect species the intricately interconnected natural world will be damaged with devastating consequences.

The council had recognised its responsibilities by creating a new department dedicated to biodiversity.

“But together we can make our difference an even greater one.”

Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson said the Department’s of Conservation’s vision of New Zealand as the greatest living space on earth acknowledged the fundamental place of nature in our living space.

“It’s not simply a decorative backdrop, but the cornerstone of our lives and our prosperity. It makes sense for us to invest in the conservation of nature so we can continue to rely on the huge range of services it offers, such as clean air, fresh water and productive soils.”

Applauding the award winners, Ms Wilkinson said she was encouraged by the efforts of the many community groups, businesses, schools and individuals involved in community projects throughout the region.

“The increasing sound and sights of native birds is proof that tender, loving care and ongoing commitment within communities is creating a healthier natural environment.

“Historic sites are also being restored, as a reminder of those who came before us and their contribution to society.”

Wellington Hawke’s Bay Conservation Board chairperson Helen Algar said volunteers contributed more than 3000 work days to conservation projects on land managed by DOC’s Wellington Hawke’s Bay Conservancy over the past year.

“They helped with bird counts, historic building restoration, habitat restoration, hut maintenance, weed and animal pest control, tree planting, and giving talks. Many of these tasks and projects could not be done without this volunteer effort.”

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The Encore Award winners are:

Community Partnerships Award (two winners)

Rimutaka Forest Park Trust – The trust has brought both environmental and social benefits to the Wellington region as it restores and protects the park’s unique flora and fauna, and establishes a population of North Island brown kiwi there.  It has engaged with the wider community, attracted sponsorship, and raised awareness of its activities and the park through environmental education resources for children, and information panels at the parks.

Trelissick Park Group – The group has established partnerships with local authorities, residents’ associations, corporate volunteers, the Youth Environment Forum and schools as it restores the park. Over the past 20 years, hard-working volunteers have eradicated weeds and planted more than 60,000 eco-sourced native trees and shrubs in an area that was decimated by milling, farming, road and rail construction, and pest plant invasion.

Community Leadership Award (two winners)

Neil Bellingham, Friends of Maara Roa – Neil has been contributing to conservation and restoration in the Wellington region for 30 years, as a founding member of Friends of Maara Roa – which is restoring the Cannons Creek area of Belmont Regional Park; with the Guardians of Pauatahanui Inlet; and through the Trees for Survival nursery at Porirua College, which he set up in 2001.

Max Lutz, Friends of Otaki River – Max has developed the Friends of Otaki River into a strong and well-respected organisation that is making the river a better place to visit. Some 30,000 trees have been planted along the river, the lagoon at Chrystall’s Bend has been transformed from a weed-clogged waterway, and the group has its own nursery where it grows native plants from seedlings.

Business Environmental Leadership Award

Wellington Zoo Trust – To become more sustainable, Wellington Zoo has reduced its water use and the amount of waste going to landfill, and uses recycled building materials. Contractors are required to implement comprehensive environmental management plans and staff are committed to sustainability. The Zoo also works with schools, Forest and Bird and DOC to increase awareness of wildlife in the local environment.

Emerging Environmental Business Award

Wellington City New World (Chaffers New World) – The supermarket has substantially reduced its waste and energy emissions through recycling, composting and reduced water use. It is encouraging customers to be more sustainable by discouraging the use of plastic bags and promoting sustainability.

Meridian School Sustainable Project Award (two winners)

Wainuioru School native reforestation project – This school east of Masterton has been working to boost numbers of the rare native tree daisy (Olearia Gardneri) in its quest to restore the local area to the way it was before the arrival of Europeans. This once abundant New Zealand tree is now classed as nationally critical and is not easy to grow.  The students have succeeded in growing trees from seedlings in their school nursery and planting them on local landowner Ed Beetham’s QEII covenant over the past two and a half years.

St Patrick’s School Envirogroup – Envirogroup students have reduced waste, saved energy and secured a healthy food source by developing a small chicken coop at their school. The chickens take care of excess waste from the worm farm, and provide the school with fresh eggs, which they use to make pikelets. A responsibility code ensures the management of the chicken coop is shared equally among the classes.  The students are now sharing their learnings with other schools via Skype.

Meridian School Environmental Leadership Award

Jackie Sutherland, Maungaraki School – Jackie has set up an Enviroteam of students; established a worm farm and vegetable garden, and revamped the composting system to make the school more sustainable. She is inspiring students to advocate on environmental issues and take the lead on some school environmental initiatives.

Excellence in Compliance Award

Winstone Aggregates, Belmont Quarry – The company has managed the construction of a new overburden disposal area through good planning and innovative monitoring techniques. It has also set up a liaison group with the community, councils, and quarry management, and communicated well with Greater Wellington.

Historic Heritage Award

Ministry of Justice – The ministry has saved Wellington’s old High Court building from the wrecker’s ball by integrating it into the new Supreme Court, a move that respects both early and modern architecture. Built in the 1870s, New Zealand’s first public brick/masonry building was vacant and rapidly deteriorating by 1993.  Building conservator Chris Cochran and architects Warren & Mahoney have retained heritage values while creating a building that can be used well into the future, including earthquake-proofing it with retrofitted base isolators.

Highly commended awards:

Community Partnerships Award

Friends of Mana Island – The Friends have transformed the island into an ecological site of national importance over the past 20 years. Supported by such organisations as DOC, which manages the island, and the Ornithological Society of New Zealand, they have planted around half a million eco-sourced trees. The pest-free island is now an important part of recovery programmes for such species as takahe and McGregor’s skink. Fundraising, raising public awareness, and collating the island’s history are among other activities being undertaken by the Friends.

Community Leadership Award

Robert Ashe – Robert’s wide-ranging involvement in conservation and environmental activities includes establishing the global volunteer conservation programme Nga Kaitiaki, leading a community dune restoration project at Windy Point in Eastbourne, volunteering for the Friends of Haywards Reserve and the Eastbourne Dunes Protection Group, and working on legislation to mandate the protection of native species, in line with international best practice.

Meridian School Environmental Leadership Award

Diane Turner, Raumati South School – Diane has instilled a respect for the natural world among Raumati South School students through her environmental education projects there. She has led a lunch time gardening group, a native bushwalk area, and a paper for trees project to recycle the school’s scrap paper in exchange for native trees.  Her contribution is reflected in the enthusiasm and caring attitude of students, who are now sharing their knowledge with others.

Excellence in Compliance Award

Brian Perry Civil and Transpower New Zealand Ltd – Transpower and contractor Brian Perry Civil have minimised the environmental effects of earthworks at the Haywards Hill substation by controlling erosion and sediment. This includes implementing a strong defence system to contain runoff in work areas, and regrassing to a high standard.

Business Environmental Leadership Award

Wharerata Farm – Heather and Ian Atkinson have made a significant contribution to conservation and environmental restoration, while still maintaining a profitable operation on their 240 hectare organic farm in South Wairarapa. The couple grow their own organic stock supplements, use natural fertiliser to avoid leachate entering waterways, recycle animal nutrients within the farm pasture management system, and recycle plastics from bales.

Emerging Environmental Business Award

Porirua Autocrash – This small family-owned and operated car repair business has reduced waste by recycling metal and cardboard. It has implemented an environmental plan to prevent chemical spillages that may harm the environment, and has measures in place to reduce energy consumption.

Historic Heritage Award

Maritime Heritage Trust of Wellington – The trust has secured the future of a much-loved piece of Wellington’s maritime heritage by restoring the steam-powered floating crane Hikitia. Built by Fleming and Ferguson of Paisley, Scotland in 1926, the crane is the last remaining working vessel of its type in the world. It is now accessible to Wellingtonians at its prime position on the waterfront.

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Greater Wellington Regional Council
Matt Velde
Ph: +64 4 830 4270

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