Green Ribbon Awards and new waste minimisation project

Raglan nominees for the 27th annual Green Ribbon Awards attended the awards ceremony held at Parliament last Thursday, announcing this year’s winners.

This year’s awards saw three Raglan community groups named as finalists – Xtreme Zero Waste and Whaingaroa Harbour Care as well as Para Kore, a national zero waste education organisation that was initiated by Xtreme Zero Waste.

Environment minister Nick Smith and conservation minister Maggie Barry announced the 2017 Green Ribbon Awards finalists earlier in the month. While the Raglan nominees were not winners their nominations are a huge achievement recognising their efforts as some of the country’s exceptional environmental and conservation initiatives.

“These national awards, now in their 27th year, play an important role in celebrating and raising the profile of outstanding contributions by individuals, communities and organisations to protect and manage New Zealand’s environment,” Smith said.

“The standard of nominations this year was particularly high and it’s great to see so many people and organisations stepping up to care for our environment. We received close to 150 nominations, from all corners of the country.”

Barry said the finalists are doing exceptional work to conserve New Zealand’s unique environment and species for generations to come.

“What particularly stands out from the stories of our finalists this year is the leadership they have shown to deliver significant, tangible outcomes for the environment and conservation,” Barry said.

“Many of the finalists have achieved remarkable results through community involvement and collaboration with others. They are examples of New Zealanders working together for the common good.”

Xtreme Zero Waste was named a finalist due to their 17 year history providing a zero waste to landfill programme for the Raglan Community.

They have achieved over 75% diversion of waste from landfill and are about to bring in a further service, kerbside collection of food waste, which might see over 85% diversion from landfill.

The food waste collection and composting is a new project for Raglan.  The project is being funded by the Ministry of Environment Waste Minimisation Fund which was announced this week in Raglan by the associate minister for the environment, Scott Simpson.  Food waste diversion is important for many reasons including New Zealand’s target of reduction in emissions currently being discussed in Paris.

“Para Kore is Zero Waste education programme that is now working across the Māori community, with over 180 marae, kura, kohanga reo and community organisations.

“With the additional funding, we are bringing the Para Kore kaupapa to Wellington, Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne, East Coast and Rotorua.

“For us it is about kaitiakitanga, it’s about looking after Papatūānuku and Ranginui” says Jacqui Forbes, Kaihautū Matua for Para Kore.

Whaingaroa Harbour Care was also named a finalist in the Green Ribbon Awards due to their 23 year history.

Fiona Edwards, Whaingaroa Harbour Care chairperson reflects on their history.

“Back in 1995, it took 18 hours to catch a single fish, whitebait catches were about half a cup and when it rained, the Whaingaroa Harbour turned brown with sediment for weeks at a time.

“Sediment runoff from farmland was smothering the seabed and your gumboots would stick in the mud.”

“Two decades later and it’s a different story. There’s more than 425km of riparian fencing and planting, as our team of five staff have worked with over 60 landowners throughout the catchment and planted 1.6 million trees.

“Seagrass beds are expanding and you can easily catch three snapper an hour. It’s truly amazing what a few people can achieve working alongside willing farmers,” Fiona said.

Nenya Chapman