The inaugural supreme Far North Go Green Award was presented to Project Island Song before a sell-out gathering of more than 150 at Russell's Duke of Marlborough Hotel on Thursday night.
Project Island Song is a voluntary organisation that is working to restore in habitat, eradicate pests and reintroduce native birds on seven islands of Ipipiri, the eastern Bay of Islands, in collaboration with the Department of Conservation, Guardians of the Bay of Islands Inc. and Te Rawhiti hapū.
It also won the Good Green Idea category.
The other winners were Cliff Colquhoun, from Kaitaia's Community Business and Environment Centre — CBEC (outstanding citizen), Sea Cleaners Far North (outstanding organisation), Hukerenui School (outstanding school), and Claudine Maynard (recycled fashion).
Project Island Song's project manager, Richard Robbins, said he felt very honoured to accept the award on behalf of the organisation's volunteers, staff, project partners and backers, "because it reinforces how we work."
Russell businessman Ross Blackman, speaking for the judges, said there had been "considerable" discussion among the adjudicators but in the end, Project Island Song won the supreme award "by a considerable margin."
The Go Green Award judges — Antonio Pasquale, Terry Greening, Mr Blackman and Alastair MacDuff — were all from Russell, while the recycled fashion judges were Janet Planet and Jayne Shirley.
Claudine Maynard's winning creation was made from an old sail she rescued from the dump, accessorised with what she described as "old marine fittings" such as shackles and ropes. It was modelled by Amy Nodder.
A special merit award went to 8-year-old Ruby Tauri and her 6-year-old brother, Nico, who designed and made a korowai using the insulation surrounding My Food Bag packaging.
Meanwhile the trophies were made from recycled materials by Kerikeri artisan Dillon Te Puke, the awards themselves being made possible by grants from the Bay of Islands-Whangaroa Community Board and the Creative Communities Scheme.
Russell Recyclers chairman John Maxwell said all early predictions for the awards had been exceeded.
"Tickets to the event sold out six weeks prior, which showed the Far North community embraced the concept to acknowledge the efforts by hundreds of people in the region who are literally cleaning up the environment," he said.
"Interestingly, three months after Russell Recyclers announced the Far North Go Green Awards, the Northland Regional Council revealed their own environment awards, which gives truth to the adage that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."