Environment Waikato chairman Jenni Vernon presented Karapiro couple David and Juliette Wallace with an award recognising their outstanding contribution to conservation at Environment Waikato’s Policy and Strategy Committee meeting this week.
Mr and Mrs Wallace initiated and continue to be involved in the Maungatautari Ecological Island Project, which aims to remove introduced mammalian pests and predators from Maungatautari and restore natural habitat for endangered flora and fauna.
Earlier this year they received Green Ribbon awards from the Ministry for the Environment in recognition of their work.
The chairman said the Maungatautari project had involved a huge personal commitment.
“You’ve given up personal holidays and family time to follow a passion – there’s a lot of self sacrifice that’s gone into this,” she said.
“It comes from the heart and it will continue into the future. Congratulations and thank you so much.”
Mrs Wallace accepted the award on behalf of herself and her husband, who was unable to attend.
She thanked council very much for the honour, and told councillors the educational side of the Maungatautari project was “gathering pace”.
A new education programme was planned for next year, designed to give children hands-on conservation experiences. One school is already helping with the care of kaka, which have been released on the mountain.
Fellow Green Ribbon award winners Andrew and Jenny Hayes and their sons Alistair, Derek, Rodney and Fred were also acknowledged at today’s meeting, along with Otorohanga couple Arthur and Pat Cowan, who have dedicated decades to conservation work.