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Published: 2012-10-25 00:00:00

Two recently retired Maungatautari Trust trustees have had their work recognised today by Waikato Regional Council.

 Chairman Peter Buckley and Gordon Stephenson
Chairman Peter Buckley congratulates Gordon Stephenson.
Councilllor Norm Barker and Gordon Blake.
Cr Norm Barker, Gordon Stephenson, Gordon Blake and Chairman Peter Buckley
Waikato Regional Council acknowledges the years of hard work and passion for the environment from 'the Gordons'. L to R: Cr Norm Barker, Gordon Stephenson, Gordon Blake and Chairman Peter Buckley.

Former South Waikato mayor and farmer Gordon Blake and Waotu farmer Gordon Stephenson had really put their hearts into the Maungatautari Ecological Island project, said council chairman Peter Buckley.

The Maungatautari Ecological Island is surrounded by 47 kilometres of predator-proof fence and creates a haven for the likes of native birds, included kaka and kiwi, and recently tuatara. The famed kakapo Sirocco has been exhibited there. The regional council has contributed financially to the project over the years.

“The council has deeply appreciated the passion and the professionalism you’ve brought to the project,” Mr Buckley told Mr Blake and Mr Stephenson.

Mr Blake had been a “real mover and shaker, especially in helping the project obtain central Government support”, while Mr Stephenson had been a “legend” in terms of the energy he had put into Maungatautari, in particular, and environmental protection in the region generally.

“Having men of your calibre involved in Maungatautari has been one of the main reasons that this council has maintained its confidence in the project through all the difficulties,” Mr Buckley said.

“Your combined vision and enthusiasm has helped develop a very strong base to build on for the future of the project.”

The pair were each presented with a pictorial book on New Zealand.