Dedication, passion, persistence, innovation and leadership are attributes of the nine 2011 Encore Award winners, committed to making the Wellington region a better place in which to live.
Co-hosted by the Department of Conservation, Greater Wellington Regional Council and the Wellington Hawke’s Bay Conservation Board, the awards reward people going the extra mile to restore, protect and enhance nature and history, and enable others to enjoy it.
This year’s winners include a group achieving a vision of a walkway around the Pauatahanui Inlet; Wairarapa landowners contributing to a corridor for wildlife, and an innovative team which has reduced the environmental impacts of a major roading project.
Two Hutt Valley schools receive accolades for environmental leadership and sustainability, while other awards acknowledge the outstanding efforts that have gone into restoring the Owhiro and Porirua Streams, Trelissick Park and an area in the suburb of Churton Park.
The Encore Awards are an opportunity to showcase the outstanding work being done in our communities, reveal how it is transforming our region, and inspire others to take similar action.
The Encore Award 2011 winners are:
Rotary Club of Plimmerton – Recreation Volunteers Award winner
Through the club’s efforts in creating Te Ara Piko – the Pauatahanui Pathway people can now meander their way around the Pauatahanui Inlet, appreciating its natural attributes en route.
The club campaigned for years to get the council to include the pathway in its long term plan, and partnered with the council to bring its vision to fruition.
Club members advocated for the pathway, and acted as project ambassadors, promoting it at festivals, organising revegetation plantings and establishing their own nursery.
The project has recognised the sensitivity of the environment through which Te Ara Piko travels and created an outstanding opportunity for its appreciation.
Heather and Ian Atkinson, South Wairarapa – Landowners’ Conservation Award winner
Heather and Ian have gone the extra mile in looking after the biodiversity on their 240ha organic farm, Wharerata, in South Wairarapa.
They’ve worked tirelessly to protect and extend a QEII covenant on their farm, removing pines, extensively planting native species, and controlling animal pests.
The tree planting provides habitat for beneficial birds and insects as well as a corridor of vegetation from the Haurangi ranges into the lower valley.
Heather and Ian have encouraged locals and people from further afield to get involved in their restoration efforts through field day events, planting days with businesses and partnerships on sustainable land use.
They recently established the Pirinoa Biodiversity Group, through which local landowners encourage and support biodiversity efforts.
Heather and Ian are setting an example to others as the first farm in the area to opt for a Land and Environment Plan from Greater Wellington, and to undertake a research project seeking alternative, non-tanalised timbers for use in fencing.
NZ Transport Agency Project Team for Emerald Glen Road extension – Excellence in Compliance Award winner
The NZTA project team comprising Opus International and Fletchers on design, Beca, Higgins and Goodmans on construction, Brian Perry Civil on site management and Goodmans on erosion and sediment control went well beyond their consent requirements in roading works designed to improve safety and maintain SH1 access.
The project team maintained a level of communication with Greater Wellington beyond what we would expect and they also consulted with neighbours and iwi on the roading options.
Throughout the project the team used innovative solutions to maintain fish passage, control erosion and sediment and minimise vegetation disturbance.
The team’s well thought-out approach involved spending nine months designing and consulting, and three months on construction, to achieve a beneficial outcome.
Friends of Owhiro Stream (FOOS) – Community Partnerships Award winner
The Friends of Owhiro Stream (FOOS) have transformed a neglected urban stream into an attractive habitat for native birds and animals, and a place of relaxation and enjoyment for people.
Since 2003, the group has planted over 16,000 trees on its restoration sites, established a shade house growing 2500 trees a year, and involved more than 200 adult volunteers and even more school children in planting.
The biodiversity around the stream and adjacent slopes has improved, weed infestations have decreased, there is more shading for fish and aquatic life, and stream habitat is much more natural.
FOOS has advocated to people and organisations impacting on the stream, and participated in planning processes that may affect its values.
As such, damaging subdivision or discharge activities have been prevented or moderated, and there is much more awareness of the stream and its values in the local and wider Wellington community.
Frances Lee – Kaitiaki Award winner
Over three decades Frances has worked tirelessly to transform Trelissick Park into an attractive natural wilderness, recruiting, motivating and inspiring volunteers, and advocating for the park to Greater Wellington Regional Council and Wellington City Council.
Frances has written action plans, organised tree plantings, cleared tracks, and helped develop new tracks. She petitioned the city council for land to improve park access, developed an ‘adopt a spot’ scheme that encourages locals and others to have their own spot in the park, liaised with other environmental groups, and inputted into numerous planning and resource consent applications.
Her work outside the park is equally extensive and impressive. It includes protecting the Old Coach Rd, advocating on Wellington waterfront issues and preserving the estuary of Kaiwharawhara Stream.
John Morrison – Restoring the Mauri Award winner
John Morrison has created a legacy for future generations to enjoy, restoring the mauri – life force – of a section of the upper reaches of the Porirua Stream alongside Middleton Road with thriving plantings of rare and local native plants.
He has been the driving force of the Churton Park Revegetation Group, organising planting and weeding days, recruiting volunteers, providing equipment used on site and educating the community about the group’s work.
Leading by example, John is often seen at the revegetation site during week days staking trees, clearing and realigning the path where necessary.
Murray Bootten, Elizabeth Ferguson and Wendy Johnstone, Naenae Primary School – Meridian School Environmental Leadership winner
Murray, Elizabeth and Wendy have developed a whole school approach to education about the environment and sustainability that has been instrumental in their school becoming only the second in the Hutt Valley to achieve Enviroschools' Green Gold.
Students are actively engaged in environmental actions at the school, developing a waste system which has reduced waste going to landfill and resulted in savings; creating areas within the school grounds to grow food, including an area for fruit trees, and establishing a weta habitat to improve the school’s biological diversity.
Environmental sustainability messages are also being taken home by students, who are helping their families reduce waste, and use energy wisely.
Hutt Intermediate Greenie Group – Meridian School Sustainable Project winner
Five years of dedication from Greenie Group students has resulted in a vibrant garden area and in school programmes such as food technology.
There is widespread student involvement and enthusiasm, commitment outside school time, and pride in what’s been achieved – a garden growing produce used in conjunction with classroom programmes, and the installation of a rainwater collection system to water the gardens.
The Greenie Group has also been involved in a paper recycling system and flood protection plantings along the Hutt River near the school.
It is now well-established and an integral part of the school, with students gaining immense satisfaction from their projects, as well as developing impressive skills as leaders, project managers, marketers and advocates.
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet – New Zealand Historic Places Trust Historic Heritage Award winner
Conserving the impressive heritage values of Government House is an exceptional and superbly executed project.
The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has made a strong commitment to the heritage conservation process and to the long-term sustainability of the building’s heritage. Conservation plans were prepared for the house, outbuildings and grounds to assist in maintaining heritage values. A significant amount of research was undertaken by the design team.
Ongoing maintenance and future proofing is planned in a way that will have minimal impact on the heritage values.
The project has been well documented and there were opportunities for the public to enjoy and appreciate the results, with 15,000 people attending open days earlier this year.
John Lancashire, Friends of Queen Elizabeth Park (Kaitiaki Award) – For enhancing the visitor experience and improving the park’s biodiversity for the enjoyment of present and future generations.
John McLaren (Restoring the Mauri Award) – For helping the recovery and survival of native birds and other native species at the Animal Hospital in Masterton.
Clive Paton (Landowners’ Conservation Award) – For improving the ecological values of his Ata Rangi vineyard, the Ata Rangi Bush Block and the Aorangi Mountains, and encouraging his neighbours to do likewise.
Porirua City Council (Excellence in Compliance Award) - For minimising impact on the environment during construction of Te Ara Piko – the Pauatahanui Pathway
Polhill Track Builders (Recreation Volunteers Award) – For developing 5.5km of hand-dug mountain bike trails between Aro Valley, Brooklyn and Highbury
Heretaunga Kindergarten (Meridian School Sustainable Project Award) – For whole of centre environmental sustainability
Duncan Lints (Hutt Intermediate School) – For leadership of the school’s Greenie Group