2016 Southland Community Environment Awards

​​​The 2016 Southland Community Environment Awards were held at Ascot Park Hotel on Thursday 28th July. This year we had 28 nominees across the six categories. Have a look below for videos of all award category winners and nominees.​

Award Photos

For a selection of award photos, visit our Facebook album. You can order prints online from the Southern Exposures website.

Schools Award

Sponsored by Milligan Seeds and the Department of Conservation

Winner - Limehills School
Limehills School started out on their Enviroschools journey many years ago with small, manageable projects. They have worked through all stages of the Enviroschools programme and received Bronze, Silver, and Green-Gold awards. Today, the school’s entire curriculum is built around the principles of Enviroschools. The impact the school has on its environment and community is enormous, and is making a real difference.

Commended - Heddon Bush School
Around nine years ago, Heddon Bush School children decided to take on a restoration project - a one hectare patch of native bush that had been decimated by stock and dominant grass species. Affectionately called the ‘Donut’, the school is able to use this restoration project in their everyday learning and has recently become an Enviroschool. The students have set up an eco-group that is responsible for planning planting days, researching suitable plant species, propagation work, pest and weed control, and monitoring progress. Through their efforts the Donut is now well on the way to recovery. The recent plantings are taking off and the Donut has been fully fenced and protected by a QE 2 covenant.

Commercial Award
Sponsored by ANZ

Winner - Ernslaw One Ltd

High up in the Avondale Forest, forestry company Ernslaw One Ltd is diversifying its business using areas that are unsuitable for growing trees. It’s created hundreds of ponds in old fire ponds, frost zones and areas near waterways and power lines to farm freshwater crayfish. These ponds also act as sediment traps reducing the amount entering streams. The farming practice doesn’t use any artificial feeding or chemicals and the crayfish are a good indicator of the environmental health of the forest. The company has taken sediment reduction to the next level and it’s dedication to environmental sustainability and protection of the local ecosystems is impressive. 

Commended - Fulton Hogan ROSE
Fulton Hogan Southland offer a service for the collection of used oil, promoting the recovery and reuse of this waste product and minimising illegal discharges to the environment. The Recycling Oil Saves the Environment scheme (ROSE) has been set up to provide a sustainable end use for waste oil products and the company uses collected oil as a burner fuel in their asphalt making process.

Innovator Award
Sponsored by the Invercargill Licensing Trust

Winner - Stewart Island/Rakiura Community & Environment Trust

The Stewart Island/Rakiura Community and Environment Trust is a non-profit organisation dedicated to improving the environment surrounding Halfmoon Bay. Formed in 2002, SIRCET's vision is for Tieke/Saddleback to be resident in their gardens. This is certainly a lofty ambition but SIRCET feels that achieving this would represent the pinnacle of successful habitat protection. 

The groups' main restoration project involves controlling possums, rats and feral cats on 200 hectares of private and public land. Judges were very impressed with the groups' approach and keenness to adopt new technology to make their vision a reality.

The group recently began trialling Good Nature A24 and A12 traps. The judges saw for themselves the success that these are going to be for this group.

The trust has also equipped volunteers with a new way of recording their catches, using their mobile phones with GIS mapping software called 'Walk the Line' developed by the Department of Conservation. The software allows volunteers to easily enter and see their own data and creates an easily accessible resource for the trust. The trust can now respond to trends and target their effort more effectively.

Kiwi Aversion training for dogs living on the Island has been very well received. The trust has purchase an 'e-kiwi' which allows the trainer to replicate the conditions where local dogs might encounter a kiwi and therefore protect them.

The efforts of these dedicated volunteers are certainly paying off with monitoring showing rat and possum numbers at consistently low levels. Sustained control has resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of native birds present around the township and allowed reintroductions of some species to occur.

Individual Award
Sponsored by Forsyth Barr

Winner - Garry Christie
Garry and Angie Christie run a self-contained 165ha dairy farm at Mokotua. Garry has spent 14 years fencing and restoring Christies Bush - a 13ha block. A recent High Value Area report shows the undergrowth is recovering well after previously being damaged by browsing cattle and the block is now alive with the songs of bellbirds, fantails and kereru. Garry’s dedication to good farming practice is visible with native shelter belts lining his paddocks, a water fountain aerating the wetland, and swale areas in his crop paddocks are fenced off to combat nutrient loss to waterways. The judges were impressed by Garry’s outstanding attitude and dedication to good management practices.

Commended - Greg Warden
Glengarry resident Greg Warden doesn’t believe life is about sitting around waiting for others to do things. Since his retirement he’s been busier than ever and much of his time is spent giving back to the community. Greg is well known in the Glengarry area for his efforts; picking up rubbish, pulling weeds and helping with community activities. He’s also involved with the Omaui Track and is a quiet and dedicated achiever who is only too happy to put his hand up to help.

Commended - Lynley King
Lynley King is the inspirational teacher behind the environmental learnings at Southland Girls’ High School. She has initiated, developed and delivered a highly successful Environment Science course for year 9 and 10 students at the school. Lynley shares her ideas and enthusiasm with other teachers, helping them develop a passion for environmental education and supporting our young people to learn the value of making a difference in the environment.

Community Group Award

Sponsored by New Zealand Aluminium Smelters Ltd

Winner - Omaui Landcare Charitable Trust
Since 2013, the Omaui Landcare Charitable Trust’s band of volunteers has been waging war on possums, rats and mustelids in the ICC Omaui Reserve and in 2015 the trust extended their activities into the adjacent DOC reserve. The dedication of this group has had a significant impact on this special piece of land, with a reduction in pest animals and Omaui residents observing an increase in native birds. The sounds of bellbirds, tuis and fantails echo around the township, with kereru frequent visitors and even parakeets and kaka have made an appearance. The Trust intends to continue its activities and is considering extending into the surrounding areas of the Omaui peninsula.

Commended - Invercargill South Lions
For almost 20 years, Allan McPherson and John Tait from the Invercargill South Lions Club have dedicated their spare time to maintaining and improving the Kew Bush area behind Southland Hospital. The restoration and enhancement of the bush has been a huge achievement, and they have made a significant difference to the bush, removing large numbers of pest plants and animals and planting thousands of native plants.

Commended - Southland Bee Society Inc.
Since an initial meeting in 2013, the Southland Bee Society has grown substantially and is now registered as a charitable trust. It’s making huge inroads into educating people about the value of bees and the significant part they play in our environment. The group sees its role as two-fold – providing support and education for existing and beginner beekeepers and promoting public awareness.

Achiever Award

Sponsored by Real Journeys

Winner - Winton Rotary Club
Over the past four years, the Winton Rotary Club has been working to construct and enhance the Winton Rotary Trail. The 9km track around Winton has benefitted from the extensive planting of native trees and shrubs. Members of the club say this project has been one of their most rewarding and has been well received by the community. The project is very much a community effort with plants, funding and 'in kind' donations all raised locally.  The Trail is now protected for future generations with formal easements from a number of land owners and the Winton Community Board has taken over the trail as a community asset.

Winner - Pomona Island Charitable Trust
For the past ten years the Pomona Island Charitable Trust has been eradicating pests from Pomona and Rona Islands on Lake Manapouri. Instead of being disheartened when rats and mice reinvaded in 2012 the Trust took action, deploying extensive networks of bait stations and trap sites on both islands. While it's too early to say whether the pests have been eradicated, monitoring has been at 0% for the last eight months. Importantly the populations of mohua and robins on Pomona are thriving and kiwi have been released again onto Rona. In ten years over 400 different volunteers have put in over 12,000 hours work on Pomona and Rona.

Commended - Otautau Community
One judge described it as a little oasis of peace and that’s certainly what the Otautau community were hoping for when they joined together to restore the Pourakino Picnic Area. The area 10kms from Otautau had been left to wrack and ruin, ravaged by 4WD and people leaving litter. The project pulled a number of like-minded people and businesses together to restore this historic community asset. Many volunteer hours, borrowed equipment and donated materials have gone into this restoration.

Farming Award
Sponsored by Wynn Williams

Winner - Elya Holdings
is a large 720 hectare specialist grazing unit that aims to minimise its environmental footprint. Set along the Te Anau–Mossburn Highway, Craig and Rachael Horrell are very proud of the view they are providing of farming for the many thousands of tourists that drive past their farm. They have fenced and planted over 14 kilometres of the Wilderness Stream, placed QE2 covenants on 40 hectares of native bush, created shade by planting over 20,000 trees and have constructed seven wetlands to trap sediment and phosphorus. They are also taking part in a trial next to the Mararoa River to control weeds and reduce the use and cost of chemical sprays.

Commended - Jaimee Edwards and George McMeeken
Father and daughter farmers George McMeeken and Jaimee Edwards are determined to leave their 300 hectare farm in better condition for future generations than when George purchased it in 1985. The property was overrun with unpruned trees and gullies full of gorse. With the gorse now gone and trees pruned or harvested, George and Jaimee are focused on fencing waterways, planting native trees, improving the stock water scheme and caring for their soils. Judges felt the farm was a great example of good management practices and commented that George and Jaimee are outstanding stewards of the land.

Councillors' Special Award

Sponsored by Environment Southland Councillors

Winner - Pourakino Catchment Group
In March 2014 a small group of proactive and environmentally aware Pourakino farmers wanted to take some action in response to reports of declining water quality and proposed regulations.  They formed the Pourakino Catchment Group and in just two years the group has made some significant progress. They have held several field days and workshops and over 85% of farms in the catchment have a farm plan. These actions have helped improve knowledge of good practice around nutrient and land management and are going a long way to developing community interest and community solutions to issues.


​Watch the video below to hear all our nominees speak about their projects.


Heddon Bush School
Limehills School
Southland Girls High School


Ernslaw One Ltd
Fulton Hogan – ROSE
Southern Humates/Sinclair Contracting Ltd
World Solar


Garry Christie
Greg Warden
Lynley King
Peter Kett
Sherry Elton
Steve Butler/Dark Skies

Community Group

Invercargill South Lions
Love Local
Omaui Landcare Charitable Trust
Pourakino Catchment Group
Southland Beekeepers


Fulton Hogan – Quarry
Gay and Ron Munro
Otautau Community
Pomona Island Charitable Trust
Vegan Society
Winton Rotary Club


Elya Holdings
Jaimee and George McMeeken
Finlay Weatherburn​
Page reviewed: 24 Aug 2016 10:53am