Taranaki's 'People power' shines as a model for restoring ecosystems.
A bushman helping re-home kiwi, students using drones to monitor habitats and predators and farmers helping to plant 13,000km of stream bank are examples of Taranaki's 'people power'.
Taranaki Regional Council (TRC) Chair David MacLeod congratulated the 17 Taranaki Environmental Award 2019 winners, announced last Thursday. "I am in awe of the fantastic work carried out by our environmental award winners. The winners are shining examples of how Taranaki individuals, industry, business, and community organisations are helping make large-scale improvements," said David.
One of New Zealand's leading experts in ecological restoration, Professor Bruce Clarkson, said Taranaki's "people power" is an example to the rest of the country about how to restore ecosystem health at landscape scale.
"Taranaki's people power is an example to the rest of the country. It provides a model for uniting a community together to restore ecosystem health at a region-wide scale," Professor Clarkson said at the awards evening.
Professor Clarkson said a wide range of innovative projects were reconnecting and restoring the health of Taranaki's unique landscapes and ecosystems.
"Taranaki's collaborative approach is a great example of how large-scale improvements can be made to freshwater health, wetlands, coastal environments, native plants and wildlife, with restorative work suited to each region's unique environmental blue-print."
The award winners were the latest examples of innovation and collaboration among Taranaki residents that started more than 20 years ago, he said.
"A good number of the sites I documented at the beginning of my career are now in better condition than previously and many of our native birds have been returned to areas they have been absent from for decades.
"The past 20 years have seen a significant improvement in the protection and enhancement of indigenous ecosystems in Taranaki, partly through changes in law and policy, and partly through the increasing endeavours of farmers and the community in general," he said.
However, he said Taranaki can't stop now. "We cannot be complacent. There's still more work to be done. Significant challenges, including the climate change emergency and the arrival of new diseases such as myrtle rust, mean that conventional siloed approaches will be inadequate in scale and magnitude. "Only with collaborative partnerships that empower and support community level action can these challenges be met."
Taranaki Environmental Award 2019 winners: Rex and Janice Carroll, Kevin Stoke, Ngamatapouri School, Coral and Norton Moller, East Taranaki Environment Trust, Streamline Limited Partnership, Kaitake and Oakura community, Ben Plummer, Vickers Quarries, Tim and Sue Hardwick-Smith, Omata School, Scott and Julayne Thompson, Moturoa School, Corteva Agriscience, South Taranaki Forest and Bird, David and Karen Peat and Katie Sinclair.