Landscape scale restoration initiative, Reconnecting Northland, was applauded at the 2016 Green Ribbon Awards last night, winning the Philanthropy and Partnership category.

Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry hosted the 2016 Green Ribbon Awards ceremony at Parliament. The awards celebrate exceptional environmental achievements by New Zealanders and this year the Reconnecting Northland initiative was in the running for two of the awards – ‘Community Leadership’ and ‘Philanthropy and Partnership’.

Reconnecting Northland is a large-scale ecological restoration programme and is the first of its kind in New Zealand. It is a collaboration between the NZ Landcare Trust and WWF-New Zealand, and funded by The Tindall Foundation, Foundation North and HSBC Water Programme.

Reconnecting Northland programme manager, Eamon Nathan, describes the project as a bold and extremely visionary initiative – which aims to restore a range of natural processes and ecosystems across the whole region, while also building environmental, social, cultural and economic resilience.

“Reconnecting Northland is about connecting people with the land and using that connection as a vehicle for positive environmental and social transformation,” Mr Nathan said. “Working with and within communities is the key to achieving this transformation in Te Tai Tokerau, and this is at the heart of Reconnecting Northland’s movement.”

Reconnecting Northland actively supports projects including Kiwi Coast, Warawara Whakaora Ake, Ngā Roto Tāpokapoka and Go With The Flow.

NZ Landcare Trust CEO, Dr Nick Edgar, who was instrumental in the establishment of Reconnecting Northland, said winning this high profile award was a great achievement.

“This award is a real endorsement, not just of the Reconnecting Northland initiative but also the various projects that it supports and the amazing people who are working with passion to deliver positive change,” Dr Edgar said.

WWF-New Zealand Head of Conservation Projects, Michele Frank, said this award was an excellent way to recognise how Reconnecting Northland inspired and supported Northlanders to be active in the care and kaitiakitanga of our environment for the wellbeing of Te Tai Tokerau.

“Congratulations to the Reconnecting Northland team and to all Northlanders who have actively and passionately supported the project,” Ms Frank said.