Jodie Bruning is this year's recipient of the Robert Anderson Memorial Award.
The trophy, a wooden art piece in the form of an open book is awarded annually by Amnesty International Tauranga Moana for outstanding contributions to human rights, peace and social justice.
Bruning is the ninth recipient of the annual award.
Dr Anderson was a tireless worker for social justice. He gave lectures, published numerous articles and wrote several books on a wide range of issues.
The award was presented by Mayor Greg Brownless at Tauranga City Council chambers earlier this week.
In an introductory address, Jean Anderson, widow of Dr Anderson, drew attention to the energy and determination Bruning put into her voluntary work.
Bruning said her work on environmental chemical toxicity was a warning to humanity.
She pointed to statements made by the United Nations drawing attention to international human rights to establish sustainable development goals to protect children and fresh water.
She said the greater vulnerability of children to chemical toxicity is contributing to a "silent pandemic" of disease and disability.
It is frequently the communities that are least able to contest the damage from polluting activities that bear the greater health burdens, she said.