WWF New Zealand and the New Zealand Landcare Trust's Reconnecting Northland ecological restoration project won the philanthropic and partnership category in the 2016 Green Ribbon awards, presented at a parliamentary function by Environment Minister Nick Smith last week.
Dr Smith said the award winners continued to demonstrate the "incredible commitment" of many New Zealanders, as individuals and organisations, to their environment.
Reconnecting Northland, which was also in the running for the community leadership award, is a large-scale ecological restoration programme, described as the first of its kind in New Zealand. It is a collaboration between the NZ Landcare Trust and WWF-New Zealand, funded by the Tindall Foundation, Foundation North and HSBC Water Programme.
NZ Landcare Trust CEO Dr Nick Edgar, who was instrumental in its establishment, said winning the award was a great achievement.
"This award is a real endorsement, not just of the Reconnecting Northland initiative but also the various projects that it supports and the amazing people who are working with passion to deliver positive change," he said.
WWF-New Zealand head of conservation projects, Michele Frank, said the award was an excellent way to recognise how Reconnecting Northland inspired and supported Northlanders to be active in the care and kaitiakitanga of their environment for the well-being of Te Tai Tokerau.
Programme manager Eamon Nathan described Reconnecting Northland as a bold and extremely visionary initiative that aimed to restore a range of natural processes and ecosystems across the region, while also building environmental, social, cultural and economic resilience.
"Reconnecting Northland is about connecting people with the land, and using that connection as a vehicle for positive environmental and social transformation," he said.
"Working with and within communities is the key to achieving this transformation in Te Tai Tokerau, and this is at the heart of Reconnecting Northland's movement."
Reconnecting Northland actively supports projects including Kiwi Coast, Warawara Whakaora Ake, Ng Roto Tpokapoka and Go With The Flow.