Northlanders are being invited to nominate themselves, or others, for a new set of awards designed to recognise the people and organisations who are working hard to protect and enhance the region's environment.
Nominations for the Northland Regional Council's inaugural Environmental Awards 2019 opened on Thursday, closing at 5pm on Sunday March 31.
Deputy chairman David Sinclair said the awards were a chance to highlight the "can do" attitudes and remarkable contributions Northlanders were making to help the environment thrive, and which the council thought deserved to be celebrated.
"Essentially the awards are about recognising and celebrating kaitiakitanga in action," he said.
Caring for Northland's many communities and unique environment was a massive job, and one the council simply could not do by itself.
"Fortunately, all over Tai Tokerau we've got vast numbers of committed individuals, groups, schools, tangata whenua and businesses collectively aiming to make a real difference," Cr Sinclair said.
Examples included efforts to get rid of pests and help native life flourish, planting waterways and wetlands, and implementing soil conservation practices to improve the way land was managed.
Awards would be presented in eight categories — the community, pest management, education, water quality improvement, industry, leadership, innovation and kaitiakitanga — to cover a broad range of environmental enhancement projects and activities, with a supreme award for the most outstanding entry.
The awards were open to individuals, community groups, schools, tangata whenua, businesses and leaders, but projects/activities/contributions must be located within Northland and demonstrate significant benefit to the region's environment.
The council had striven to make the online entry and nomination process (at www.nrc.govt.nz/environmentalwards) as simple as possible. Further information was also available from the council's marketing and engagement team (firstname.lastname@example.org, freephone (0800) 002 004).
"It's free to enter, and you can submit yourself or put forward a nomination for someone else, with their approval," Cr Sinclair added.
Judging would take place next month, with the finalists to be announced on April 29. Finalists would receive a certificate and tickets to an official awards ceremony in Whangārei on Thursday May 23.
Category winners would receive $1000 and a trophy, with an additional trophy, to be held for one year, for the supreme winner.
A public field day would also be organised later in the year for winners to share their knowledge and experience and showcase their work to the rest of the community.