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Celebrating environmental champions

The Love Your Place Awards recognise volunteers, businesses and schools making a positive impact on the environment in the Waitākere Ranges Local Board area.

Nominations closed on 17 September 2018 and the Awards Night was held on 27 September 2018. 

Award Winners and Judges' Commendations

Denise Yates Award

For youth (under 16) showing emerging leadership around local environmental issues

Leon Schipper: Leon has shown outstanding leadership at Laingholm Primary School by bringing back school composting, litterless lunches, and food gardens at the school providing healthy food for families.

Thomas Forrest-Dawson: Thomas has supported the rāhui by talking to people on the tracks about kauri dieback and eagerly cleaning their footwear, tyres and paws as they entered and exited the tracks. He has also helped with data collection, educating community about kauri dieback and assisting with infected trees.

Karaka Award

For a school or school group taking action on a local environmental issue

Glen Eden Intermediate: Teacher Fleur Hunter has led a group of around 20 students as part of the William Pike Challenge program, involving students in environmental restoration work carried out by Project Twin Streams. Work includes native seed collection, planting, weeding and monitoring.

Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hoani Waititi: Environmental studies are a huge part of the Hoani Waititi curriculum, including vege garden planting and care, involvement in tree planting, monitoring of tracking tunnels and chew cards, and water quality to name a few.

Glen Eden Primary School - Garden to Table Programme: With huge passion and focus, students involved in the Garden to Table Programme are regularly involved in planting seeds, seedlings, weeding, watering, composting, recycling and harvesting the produce.

Nīkau Award

For a business or social enterprise making a contribution to improve the environment

Practically Green - Coralie Archer: Coralie has turned her personal experiences and passion for wero waste into a business, supplying workshops for zero waste homes and businesses with small and realistic changes with measurable results.

eCoTrack - Steve MacLeod: eCoTrack is a ground-breaking communication and data management website and app for conservation. Communities can track ecological and conservation activities allowing accurate data collection for groups and organisations.

Rātā Award

For an outstanding volunteer group or organisation taking action on a local environmental issue

Kauri Rescue (Dr Mels Barton): Kauri Rescue has embarked on a 2 year project to engage community in the awareness and treatment of kauri dieback disease.

Friends of Whatipu (Wayne McKenzie): This group has shown great energy, leadership, and commitment of vision to the care of the remote area of Whatipu.

Reconnect Family Services Supported Bail Programme (Mckenzie Tuala-Pine): This organisation encourages and works with troubled youth, teaches them about the environment and regularly carries out work on Project Twin Streams and Waikumete stream restoration.

South Titirangi Neighbourhood Network (Vicki Sargisson): The South Titirangi Neighbourhood Network are involved in monitoring, weeding, planting, and have 300 households involved in a large predator control programme.

Kahikatea Award

For an outstanding individual volunteer taking action on a local environmental issue

Derek March: A Community Coordinator for Project Twin Streams, Derek teaches young people about looking after the rivers and installing a love for their environment. He has also volunteers in his local community helping to restore the sand dunes in Bethells.

Annalily van den Broeke: Annalily has worked tirelessly for local West Auckland conservation. Her approach is one of silent diligence where the work is its own reward.

Dr Mels Barton: Mels Barton is an environmental scientist and exceptional individual who is passionate about the Waitākere Ranges. Her work includes advocating for our parks, trees, waterways and oceans locally and nationally.

John Sumich: John has over the years spent every spare minute of his free time working tirelessly for conservation, in projects such as Ark in the Park and Habitat Te Henga. His determination has seen outstanding results for our local environment.

Special acknowledgements

Special acknowledgements were made from the conservation community of the Waitākere Ranges to:


In appreciation of their leadership, and staunch and unwavering commitment to protecting Te Wao Nui a Tiriwa in the face of kauri dieback.


In appreciation of their long-standing care and protection of the Waitākere Ranges.


Thank you

The Love Your Place Awards 2018 were funded by the Waitākere Ranges Local Board and organised and hosted by EcoMatters Environment Trust.