Te Runanga-a-Iwi o Ngati Kahu is a finalist in the Kaitiaki Leadership category of this year's Green Ribbon Awards, along with rubbish reduction/recycling campaign Para Kore Marae Inc.

Awards in 10 categories, and a supreme award, will be presented at a function at Parliament on Thursday next week.

Ngati Kahu has been working with others to restore Lake Waiporohita, on the Karikari Peninsula, which is suffering from invasive exotic plants, farm sediment and nutrients and other environmental issues, for some time.

A farm drain empties into the lake, and it had long been common practice to use it to wash vehicles and boats. The iwi called for an end to that earlier this year.


Six non-invasive exotic aquatic plant species and three invasive exotics, including alligator weed, primrose willow, paspalum and gambusia, are rampant, and algal blooms occur every summer.

Environment Minister Nick Smith and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry said Ngati Kahu had a particularly strong whakapapa to the lake, and was working with the Northland Regional Council, the Department of Conservation and Landcorp on its restoration.

Initial work last year had looked at new fencing that was needed, allowing for riparian planting, the creation of a weir to settle sediment and nutrient from the adjacent farm, the removal from the lake margins of non-native tree species and a bollard and boulder barrier to stop entry to the lake by vehicles and boats.

Stock access was now under control with new fences, the weir was doing its job, riparian planting was underway and a media campaign about vehicles had prompted co-operation from the wider community.

It was also planned to target lake weeds and algae, nutrient and biosecurity issues, and Canada geese control.

Dr Smith said the Green Ribbon Awards, now in their 27th year, played an important role in celebrating and raising the profile of outstanding contributions by individuals, communities and organisations to protect and manage New Zealand's environment.

"The standard of nominations this year was particularly high, and it's great to see so many people and organisations stepping up to care for our environment. We received close to 150 nominations, from all corners of the country," he said.

Ms Barry said the finalists were doing exceptional work to conserve New Zealand's unique environment and species for generations to come.

"What particularly stands out from the stories of our finalists this year is the leadership they have shown to deliver significant, tangible outcomes for the environment and conservation," shesaid. "Many of the finalists have achieved remarkable results through community involvement and collaboration with others. They are examples of New Zealanders working together for the common good."