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Green Corridors Project Wins LGNZ Excellence Award

Green Corridors Project Wins LGNZ Excellence Award

Palmerston North City Council’s Green Corridors project has won the Air New Zealand Excellence Award for Environmental Impact in this year’s Local Government New Zealand Excellence awards.

The win was announced at a gala dinner in Auckland on Monday night.

Deputy Mayor Tangi Utikere who accepted the award on behalf of Council, said the award was fantastic recognition for a long-running environmental project where the Palmerston North community and Council has worked together.

“We would not have been able to have such success with the Green Corridors project without the input of many volunteers who recognise the value of the project and have committed their time and effort during our community planting days. We are also fortunate to have Council staff who are also deeply committed to this project.”

The project began in 2001 when Palmerston North residents expressed concerned at the loss of biodiversity, with only one per cent of forest cover remaining and native birds a rare sight.

In the 16-year project PNCC partnered with the community to establish green corridors of native plants from the Tararua Ranges through to Palmerston North City and the Manawatū River.

Since then 150,000 native trees have been planted along the Turitea and Kahuterawa streams and gullies in the suburb of Aokautere/Summerhill.

“One of the amazing results has been the significant increase in native bird numbers in the Turitea Reserve and the improvement of the water quality in both streams,” says Utikere. “We are delighted the Turitea Stream is now being used as an incubator for eels through a collaborative project with local iwi, Rangitāne o Manawatū. “

Judges said this was a project initiated by a community concerned about biodiversity loss.

“Sixteen years on it is still going and the impact is there to see as a result of the efforts of many people planting thousands of trees. This project has had wide community involvement, from the very young to older residents, and shows the benefit that can be gained over time.”

Judges for the awards were former Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast, Chair of EQC Sir Maarten Wevers and The New Zealand Initiative’s Executive Director, Dr Oliver Hartwich.

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