A passionate Northland marine conservationist has scooped a national Seaweek award.
Experiencing Marine Reserves founder Samara Nicholas has been named the Ocean Champion for Seaweek 2018.
Seaweek national co-ordinator Dr Mels Barton said the Ocean Champion initiative celebrates all those individuals, groups and organisations who work hard to look after the sea and marine life.
"It is wonderful to have a winner who has dedicated her life to inspiring future generations to value and protect our marine environment," Ms Barton said.
Ms Nicholas is a founding trustee and programme director of the Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust, and played a key role in Kamo High School's marine reserve proposal and establishment. She is also a representative on the Whangarei Harbour Marine Reserve advisory committee.
She is involved with the Sir Peter Blake Trust, is a regular public speaker and mentor for marine conservation projects and has provided annual seminars to the University of Auckland post-graduate marine reserves course.
Ms Nicholas also co-ordinated Seaweek in Northland from 2014 to 2016.
The event is sponsored by the New Zealand Coastal Society who donated the equivalent of $500 prize money towards the winner's work.
Ms Nicholas is currently in the Kermadecs with the Sir Peter Blake Trust.
More than 250 events are scheduled around the country during Seaweek, which runs from March 3 to 11.