Greenest Streets competition begins

Kāpiti Coast’s Greenest Street, a competition to find the most sustainable neighbourhood in the District, has started.

The four streets which have joined the quest to reduce their environmental footprints, make great things happen as a community and win the $3,000 prize are Avion Terrace in Raumati Beach, Kakariki Street,(an alliance of households in Tilley Rd, Te Miti St and Haumia St) in Paekākāriki, Rainbow Court in Raumati South and Te Roto Road in Ōtaki.

The streets will be judged on how much they reduce their footprint and the size of their street’s average personal footprint at the end of the competition, putting the competitors on an even ‘footing’ regardless of their starting point.

They will also be judged on their achievements as a community. Already the participants have great plans for working together to reduce waste, save water and grow food, all while having great fun and making new friends. Council officers will act as coaches throughout and help them make their ideas happen.

The five judges for the competition have been drawn from across the Kāpiti Coast district and represent a range of green and community interests. They are local celebrity Kevin Milne, Liana Stupples, Executive Director of the Hikurangi Foundation, an environmental charity, Joy Darke, NZ Gardener of the Year for the Wellington Region, Caleb Royal, Director of Environmental Science and Management at Te Wānanga-O-Raukawa in Ōtaki and Mayor Jenny Rowan.

Mayor Rowan says, “Kāpiti Coast’s Greenest Street is about everyday people taking practical action for the environment. I am looking forward to meeting the households who have taken the step of coming together with their neighbours to reduce their environmental footprint, be more self-sufficient and enhance the place where they live. Their example is inspiring as they embark on this ‘community journey'”.

Over the next two weeks each of the Streets will officially launch their nine month campaign, and meet the judges of the competition. The competing streets will keep the judges (and the public) informed of their progress via newspapers, web, radio and the Council email newsletter ‘On To It’.

Judge profiles

Mayor Jenny Rowan has recently been re-elected for her second term. Besides professional experience as a Mayor she is a former Environment Court Commissioner and mediator.

Kevin Milne of ‘Fair Go’ fame is one of New Zealand television’s longest-serving reporters. He was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2007 Queen’s Birthday Honours, for his services to broadcasting and the community. He also won the 2004 Qantas Media Award for Best Presenter, and a 2009 Qantas Television Award for best News and Current Affairs presenter. Kevin lives in Reikorangi where he tends 0.9 ha of covenanted native forest.

Liana Stupples, Executive Director of The Hikurangi Foundation, has an MSc in Natural Resource Management and has worked in business as a microbiologist, environmental planner, communications advisor and strategic consultant. She has advised from within Government departments on a wide range of green issues and has led international non-Government organisational campaigns on human rights, business responsibility and agriculture. She ran her own consultancy in the UK helping organisations and coalitions on strategy, communications and culture. The Hikurangi Foundation is a national not-for-profit helping New Zealanders take positive action on climate change. She lives in and works out of Paekākāriki.

Caleb Royal, a self-described “Māori-Greenie”, is the Kaihautu (director) of the Kaitiakitanga Putaiao (Environmental Science and Management) program at Te Wānanga-o-Raukawa. Born and raised in Ōtaki and living most of his life on the Kāpiti Coast, he has developed a keen interest in the rivers, forests, and coastal areas within our district. Caleb says: “Through my work, I have been exposed to many new environmental innovations as well as the many challenges that modern living is having on our environment, which is why I am excited to be appointed as a judge in this competition”.

Joy Darke, “Mother of Mulch” and Waikanae’s “Queen of Groundcover”, was named the Wellington region’s NZ Gardener of the Year in 2010. With a background in interior design, fashion clothing, and as an art gallery consultant, a change of circumstances led her into a part-time job at a local garden centre where she remained for the next 17 years. When Joy and her husband retired to Waikanae they created a garden that was admired by the thousands of people who visited over the years. Downsizing eight years ago gave her another opportunity to put into practice all the ways and means of starting a sustainable garden, with particular thought for times of drought.