Two Northlanders and their charitable trust have been recognised for their contribution towards environmental advocacy by being named as finalists in an upcoming awards.

Whangārei couple Nicholas Connop and Karen Lee have been selected as finalists in two categories of the Beautiful Awards, run by Keep New Zealand Beautiful.

Their charitable trust, For Our Real Clean Environment, best know for organising the Love Whangārei Monthly Clean Up, has been selected as one of three finalists for the Community Group Award.

The duo has also been personally recognised for their contribution by being selected as one of three finalists for the Tidy Kiwi Award.


"We're pretty excited. We were a little bit surprised at being named finalists as there are plenty of other awesome people doing awesome work out in their communities."

The couple were nominated by Volunteering Northland.

Connop, who is also a candidate for Okara in the upcoming local body elections, said he and Lee were engaged in the clean-up because they loved Whangārei and wanted to support the community in making a positive impact.

As part of the awards presentation, a 30-second video needed to be submitted summarising the group's achievements.

Connop said they could not do the video without their volunteers who have been invited to a celebration and recording on August 31.

The Beautiful Awards celebrate environmental excellence and recognise positive actions taken by communities, businesses, schools, individuals and councils, in local and urban areas to protect and enhance their local environments.

Connop and Lee will attend the annual Beautiful Awards Gala Dinner, to be held on October 24 at the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum in Dunedin.

"Being finalists in two categories makes it worth the air travel, I think. We will offset the carbon of our trip by planting trees," Lee said.


The next Love Whangārei Monthly Clean Up is on September 14 as part of Keep New Zealand Beautiful Week.

The group will return to the corner of Fairburn and Tuaroa Streets where they have previously removed over two tonnes of waste.

The clean up aims to support the Raumanga and wider Whangārei community to be kaitiaki of their environment.