Waikarere Gregory has no doubt the younger generation has got the anti-plastic message.
"You kids rock," she said at the presentation of prizes in the inaugural Plastic Free Kaitaia 2020 competition at Te Ahu on Tuesday.
"You know what to do."
Poster prizes were presented to children in three age groups, while Jonny Andrews and Tania Smith were there to collect the Far North Surf Shop's award as the town's best-performing business in reducing the use of plastic.
The Beachcomber restaurant, the Te Ahu Cafe, and the Hope Cafe had also been in the running, Ms Gregory said, the winner being drawn, given that the contenders were at different stages of their "journey" so were difficult to compare.
She went on to thank the Eco Centre volunteers, the judges, sponsors and competition participants, while Mayor John Carter, who presented the prizes, described her as a special lady who also had to be thanked.
"You can be proud that you are really making a big difference in your community."