The Northland Regional Council will present its second annual Whakamānawa Taiao (Environmental Awards) to recognise Northlanders' environmental work, albeit in accordance with Covid-19 restrictions.

Council chairwoman Penny Smart said many people had made a real difference to the region's environment over the past year, and despite the twin challenges of drought and Covid-19, had continued to so.

"It's important that this very valuable mahi is recognised, not just when times are good, but perhaps even more so when things are so much more challenging," she said.

The council had received 28 applications for the awards, well down from the 93 for last year's inaugural awards last year, which she attributed in large part to the "issues and associated uncertainties" everyone had been preparing for and facing during the application period, which had also prevented council staff from promoting the awards to potential applicants as thoroughly as they would have liked.


The council was determined that the awards should proceed, however.

The awards celebration that had been scheduled for Kerikeri's Turner Centre on May 28 had been cancelled, but the winners would be announced via traditional and social media. The council would then aim to showcase the work of those organisations later, as the region "found its collective feet again."

Entry to the awards had again been open to all sectors, including individuals, community groups, schools, tangata whenua, businesses and leaders, but projects, activities and contributions had to be located within Northland and demonstrate significant benefit to the region's environment.

This year's awards would recognise environmental action in the categories of kaitiakitanga, the community, pest management, education, water quality improvement, industry and leadership. Given the reduced number of applications, finalists had not been announced in advance.

Trophies, certificates and cash prizes would be presented in a manner that met any relevant pandemic conditions at some point in the future.