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Pīngao & Toheroa Trophy Award 2024

The Pīngao & Toheroa Award is not given out annually. It is to celebrate the exceptional contributions of an individual to coastal restoration only when someone of very high calibre comes to our attention. Recipients of this award automatically become honorary members of the Trust.

This year however, the P&T Award went to a couple for the first time. Graham and Lyn Pearson compliment each other so well, and do such excellent work as a team, that they qualified for this honour together.

Graham and Lyn have been the heartbeat of the Whanganui community for years, and attended CRT conferences since 2011.

It is through their efforts that the Castlecliff Coast Care Group has gone from strength to strength. They work with university students, both local and international, to help with their research. Young school kids get invaluable education through planting days with the group, and each patch has a signboard to honour the class that planted it.

Graham and Lyn continue to take on wattle and replant at their own pace. They arrange community driftwood sculpture competitions and will always be there to present evidence based arguments if they don’t agree with proposals for Castlecliff.

They have always had enlightening and engaging presentations in the regional roundups at conference, which focus on a learning point for the year.

Their immense achievements in their community and coastal area makes Graham and Lyn the perfect double recipients of the Pīngao and Toheroa Award, and the Trust was thrilled to present them with the beautiful trophy that was designed and carved by James te Tuhi.

First image: Previous P&T recipient Jason Roberts, presenting Graham and Lyn Pearson with the trophy.

Second image: CRT Chair Laura Shaft, Lyn Pearson, Jason Roberts, Graham Pearson.

Photo credit to Simon Hoyle, Southlight Studios.

Coastal Restoration Award 2024

The Coastal Restoration Award recognises on the ground results achieved through team work and tenacity. The award is generously sponsored by Coastlands Plant Nursery.

This year at the Kāwhia conference, the award was presented to the Kūaotunu Dune Care Group.

This group in Kūaotunu, on the eastern coast of Coromandel Peninsula north of Whitianga, originally formed to tackle a growing weed problem in their dunes. With 3 kilometres of dune to restore, they broke up the area into manageable sections and identied weed species and notable plants. They produced a restoration plan, set up a Facebook group and wrote articles for the local paper. This has resulted in large turnouts of volunteers at their regular monthly working bees.

With a grant of almost $10,000 they started work in Zone 1. Under the weeds they found the site had dumped concrete and metal pipes but because of the cultural significance of the site and the presence of native skinks they removed all the rubble by hand. They have complete 7 large restoration plantings and are involved in four sites along the coastline.
The group is supported by Thames-Coromandel District Council and Waikato Regional Council.

We applaud the incredible hardwork of the Kūaotunu Dune Group and look to seeing their progress in the future.

If you are involved in a group that you think deserves this award, or would like to nominate a group, keep an eye out for when nominations open for next year!

2024 Post Graduate Scholarship Award Announced

Our scholarship committee was very pleased to announce the winner of the Coastal Restoration Trust Post Graduate Scholarship for 2024 at the recent conference held in Kāwhia.

The scholarship was awarded to Sanne Vaassen, a PhD candidate at Waikato University who presented her research at the conference.

The aim of her PhD research is to better understand how different estuarine vegetative species in coastal ecosystems compete for space and how the distribution of their habitats will change as a result of sea level rise in the coming decades. Specifically, she is focusing on saltmarsh and mangrove systems and how these shape estuarine morphology and attenuate waves and currents. Better understanding of these processes will offer valuable knowledge which can be used in coastal management and restoration decision making. Sanne’ s research is supported by Future Coasts Aotearoa.

Congratulations Sanne! We look forward to further updates in your future research.

CRT Trustee finalist in New Zealand Environmental Hero of the Year

Congratulations to Graeme Atkins, a trustee of Tāhuna Ora for three years, for being named as a finalist in the New Zealand Environmental Hero of the Year category in the 2024 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards.
Graeme is Ngāti Porou and Rongomaiwahine, has spent his life in Tairāwhiti Gisborne and is a dedicated protector of native plant life in the area.

He founded the Tairāwhiti Ngutukākā project, planting thousands of kākā beak around the region’s marae and roadsides with rangatahi, kaumatua and whānau to prevent the extinction of this stunning, but nationally critically endangered, plant.

He also was a founder of the Raukūmara Pae Maunga restoration kaupapa, seeking to save the Raukumāras from collapse, due to the ravages of possum, goats, pigs and deer.

In early 2023, after the horrific damage caused by Cyclone Gabrielle, Graeme recorded footage of kaimoana that had died of suffocation, in the silt that had poured down the Waiapu river. This footage became part of the main bulletin in national news and moved many to action.

He is known in the conservation community as the “Māori David Attenborough of plants” and is a much valued and generous member of the CRT board, always ready to share his precious knowledge.

The date of the awards ceremony unfortunately clashes with our Kāwhia conference, which means Graeme will be unable to be with us for the conference, but we wish him all the best for the ceremony and have our fingers crossed!

The 2024 Kāwhia conference has now sold out.

If you wish to be placed on a wait list in case someone cancels, please go to the registrations on our conference website and tick the box SOLD OUT - Select to be added to the waitlist. We will contact you if a place becomes available.