In an emotion-charged ceremony, Rochelle Constantine was one of three inaugural recipients of the Holdaway Awards at the Hauraki Gulf Forum's annual seminar this month.
Other conservationists presented with tokotoko (carved walking sticks), signifying leadership, were seabird researcher Chris Gaskin and shorebird expert Keith Woodley. The awards, named for the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park's passionate promoter, the late Jim Holdaway, honour contributions to the life-supporting capacity of the gulf islands, waters and catchments.
Constantine was recognised for her advocacy for Bryde's whales and their protection from ship strike.
Gaskin was rewarded for his contributions to seabird research and conservation, notably recent work which confirmed the breeding place of the New Zealand storm petrel - thought extinct until 10 years ago - on Little Barrier Island. Gaskin co-authored a forum report proposing strategies to protect the seabirds and their nesting places.
Woodley, manager of the Pukorokoro/Miranda Shorebird Centre on the Firth of Thames, was rewarded for his efforts to protect shore and wetland environments, including work with DoC and Fonterra. His book, Shorebirds Of New Zealand - Sharing The Margins, outlines the threats many wading birds face from habitat loss.