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Locals picked by Minister as environmental heroes

Media Statement
Thursday 9 June

Three locals picked by Minister as environmental heroes

The Bay of Plenty has come up trumps in Environment Minister Marian Hobbs’ annual awards for environmental heroes.

Two of the six winners of Green Ribbon Awards hail from the region this year. And one of the five highly commended recipients does too.

Ann Graeme of Tauranga has been given a community action award by the Minister for her conservation work and for developing the Kiwi Conservation Club for children. Waikaraka Estuary Managers Inc, a Te Puna care group, has received a highly commended award in the same category.

John Paterson, a deer farmer from Rotorua, won a rural sustainability award for his contribution to progressing environmental sustainability in the deer industry.

Marian Hobbs says she has selected an inspiring and diverse range of people, groups, schools and businesses as winners of this year’s Green Ribbon Awards.

“They are a fantastic group of people making a real difference to the environment and their communities. The Green Ribbon Awards give national recognition for outstanding local initiatives,” Marian Hobbs says.

“It is absolutely wonderful to see our region featuring so well in these national awards,” says Environment Bay of Plenty’s group manager community relations, Bruce Fraser. “It reflects how strongly people feel about the environment in the Bay of Plenty, and how much they are doing to look after it.”

Six Green Ribbon Awards and five highly commended awards will be presented on Thursday evening [9 June] at a ceremony at the Grand Hall, Parliament. The awards are presented each year in June, to tie in with World Environment Day on 5 June.

The Ministry for the Environment administers the awards and makes the short-list. The assessment criteria include whether the people or projects address a significant environmental issue, improve the environment, provide a model for others, go above and beyond "the call of duty", or introduce something new or innovative.

The awards have now been running for 15 years, with this year’s winners taking the total number of Green Ribbon Awards to 76.

Green Ribbon Award Winners 2005

Community action for the environment

Winner - Ann Graeme of Tauranga
For conservation work and for developing the Kiwi Conservation Club for children

Ann Graeme has been involved in environmental protection and education for most of her life, and is regarded as an environmental hero by thousands of children and adults throughout New Zealand. From 1992, she has been running Forest and Bird’s group for children – the Kiwi Conservation Club (KCC) to raise awareness of the environment and educate young people. Ann writes the fun and informative KCC magazine, with a readership of about 18,000. Ann and husband Basil have also worked tirelessly to re-establish populations of the threatened North Island weka, including on Pakatoa Island and Russell Peninsula.

Highly Commended - Waikaraka Estuary Managers Inc of Te Puna, Tauranga
For restoring the Waikaraka Estuary

This group has done outstanding work to restore the health of the Waikaraka Estuary. Residents got together in 1997, concerned about the takeover of the local estuary by mangroves. From humble beginnings, this group has mobilised agencies, science organisations and an entire community, including a strong bicultural partnership, to work together. A catchment management and ecological restoration plan has been developed and is presently being implemented under the conditions of a ground-breaking resource consent. David Lind, the chairperson of the group, works hard to direct and encourage the many volunteers involved; along with kaumatua Jimmy Tangitu.

Rural Sustainability

Winner- John Paterson, deer farmer of Rotorua
For his contribution to progressing environmental sustainability in the deer industry

John has been nominated by the industry he represents because of his commitment and passion for raising environmental awareness and providing resources for New Zealand’s deer industry. He is seen as a leader and a role model for others in the industry. Without John’s efforts the industry would not have made the progress it has towards incorporating sustainable land management practices at all levels. This includes addressing the environmental challenges of deer farming, including soil, water, shelter and shade management.

Other award recipients are:
Urban sustainability: Winner – Landcare Research & Connell Mott MacDonald, Auckland
Sustainable Business: Winner - Scrap Metal Recyclers Ltd of Onehunga, Auckland; Highly Commended - Darryl & Bridget Soljan of Ascension Vineyard, Matakana, North Auckland
Rural Sustainability: Highly Commended – David and Ngaire Bryant of Kereru, Hastings
Young people making a difference: Winner - Otahuhu Intermediate School, Auckland; Highly Commended - Kimbolton School, Northern Manawatu; Highly Commended - Hawke’s Bay Youth Environment Council
Caring for our water – fresh and sea water: Winner - Guardians of Fiordland Fisheries and Marine Environment Inc


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