Pingao & Toheroa Award

Pingao & Toheroa Trophy Award

This is not an annual award, but one to celebrate the exceptional contributions of an individual to coastal restoration only when someone of very high calibre comes to our attention.

If you know of someone who has made more than a significant contribution towards restoring our coastal environments, please nominate them for this award. Please write to us, preferably with photo, why you think they should get this award by emailing us on click here or by sending your nomination to us at: PO Box 11302, Wellington 6142.

2017: David Bergin

At the 2017 conference in Christchurch the Pingao & Toheroa award was presented to David Bergin.

David was first involved in dune restoration in the early 1990s when he met Jim Dahm and offered to set up trials to assess the establishment of Spinifex. In 1996, Dave was present at the very first meeting of interested parties called to find ways to produce Spinifex. This was held at Forest Research in Rotorua and from that meeting of representatives from eleven councils and other interested parties the Coastal Dune Vegetation Network was established.

The first thing the CDVN did was to set up trials to find the best way to produce Spinifex from seed. David was the leader of the group that did this work at Naturally Native in Tauranga. Results were very quickly obtained and within three years commercial quantities of Spinifex were being grown and planted by Coast Care groups.

The CDVN produced a series of bulletins that were mostly written by David. These and the workshops he was involved with throughout the country established the CDVN as the authority on dune restoration.

David is the ordinary man’s scientist. He communicates with all at a level that they understand, always willing to share his knowledge and recognise others suggestions as valid. At the academic level, he has published a number of peer reviewed articles in scientific journals.

The trust has carried out many successful research projects and David has been at the forefront of them all. He has instigated most of our projects, set up the trials and then spread the information gained to all who showed an interest.

David has been a trustee of the Coastal Restoration Trust since it first was set up as the Dunes Trust in 2007.

2016: James Te Tuhi

James te Tuhi created for us the Pingao & Toheroa Award a few years ago to be awarded to people who have made an exceptional contribution to dune restoration work. This year the trust decided to award this trophy to James himself because of the enormous part he has played in dune restoration in the region over the years.

Unfortunately James couldn’t come to our conference that year, but an award presentation was held in his home town of Dargaville in May.

We congratulate James on this achievement and thank him for all that he has done for us and the dunes.

2015: Alan Esler

“Alan passed away on 12 September 2016 after a life time of study, field research and teaching of botany, taxonomy and ecology of NZ flora. At his funeral in Mt Albert his sons, relatives and professional colleagues looked back on his passion for plants, ecology and the effect Alan had had on their lives. Alan’s observation powers, his meticulous recording and his detailed sketches of plants were recalled with admiration.

During the 20 years as a DSIR Botanist in Auckland he surveyed many plant communities and amassed his own regional plant collection, which he donated to the herbarium at the Auckland Museum. The culmination of his skills came in 2004 with the publication of “Wild Plants of Auckland”, the story of 322 plant species and their communities that grow wild in Auckland’s increasingly urban environment.

Altogether he put out 150 publications, many of them in the NZ Journal of Botany. Amongst these were some early reports on surveys of sand dune colonies of the Manawatu and West Auckland. These pioneering dune ecology reports earnt him the title “NZ Father of Sand Dune Ecology”. In 2015, in recognition of this work, Alan was the inaugural recipient of the ‘Pingao & Toheroa Award’ at the Dune Restoration Trust conference in Whitianga.This distinctive hand carved trophy depicts the curious relationship between the pingao sand binding plant and the toheroa life cycle. It was carved by Northland’s dune and shellfish researcher and activist James Te Tuhi”.

Written by Ross Duder - Piha CoastCare