Founding members include Tanya Cumberland, organic grower, passionate about native revegetation, and initiator of Trees for Survival on the Peninsula, and her partner Charmaine Pountney, educator, broadcaster and writer, the first Convenor of the Landcare group; and David and Antonia Craig, farmers and winners of no less than four environmental awards between 1994 and 2005, including this country’s top environmental honour, the Green Ribbon, in 1999. (David has just retired from the Landcare Committee after 20 continuous years of service! Legend!)
Tricia and Wayne Aspin won Awhitu Landcare’s Environmental Award in 1998, and were awarded ‘Franklin’s Finest Environmental Award’ in 2005. Their deer farm was also a double Environmental Award winner in 2003. Since then Tricia, an amateur botanist with an astounding knowledge of local plantlife, has written a book, ‘Maioro to Manukau Heads’ – a marvellous resource describing biological life in the Awhitu Ecological District. (This book can be obtained via Landcare.)
Anna McNaughton, still a driving force within the group together with husband Ian, has been judged one of ‘Franklin’s Finest’, winning Environmentalist of the Year in 2008. Anna and Ian have been amazingly hard-working contributors to environmental work on the Peninsula for over 17 years.
Another of Awhitu’s unique identities is Jack Harper, Supreme Winner of the Regional Council’s 2007 Sustainable Environment Awards for a lifetime of environmental work. He has completed a major wetland protection project, forest protection, has put 20 hectares of his own land into a QEII Trust covenant, grows native trees in his nursery and given many thousands of these away, and has nurtured and guided many Awhitu landowners in their own environmental projects, in addition to being a marvellous ambassador for the environment. We salute you Jack.