Celebrating kaitiakitanga in action

The awards evening is a special occasion for finalists and their supporters to celebrate, be inspired and reflect on the amazing environmental mahi happening. The fifth Whakamānawa ā Taiao - Environmental Awards celebration event was held in Whangārei with around 180 people in attendance.

The atmosphere was buzzing, with a room of full of dedicated, hardworking and passionate Northlanders who gathered together for a night of celebrating, sharing, networking and enjoying good kai!

Check out images from the night.


The beautiful trophies created especially for the 2023 Environmental Awards are by Whangārei-based ceramic artist Julie Cromwell.

Julie has been working with clay for many years, graduating from Derbyshire University with a major in Studio Ceramics, later receiving a Bachelor in Education from Leeds University. Since that time, Julie has taught, lived and worked in Te Taitokerau, and continues to develop her ceramics practice. In 2019, she completed her Master of Fine Arts degree at Whitecliffe College of Arts & Design.

She designed and crafted this year’s awards using the medium of black clay - symbolic of the black soil in ancient Egypt, which was valued for its rich and fertile nature. The movement of the white, coral-like crawl glaze across the vessel represents people moving together as one as they work towards shared environmental goals.



For several years Northland Regional Council have partnered with NorthTec, providing an opportunity for hospitality students to practice their culinary skills and front of house service at large events. Students have planned and prepared, cooked and served the beautiful food at the Environmental Awards celebrations to impeccable quality.

Hughie Blues and his team are also behind the amazing pest food creations served at NRC events that help to share the message behind why pest control is so important in Northland.

"It is always a truly great experience for our students to participate in these events and a real confidence boost. Being welcomed up on stage in front of such a large audience is a special way to be acknowledged and the students will remember it." - Hughie Blues - Cookery tutor



The awards night is all about the individuals and groups that are making a difference to help Te Taitokerau thrive. It’s great to celebrate those who go above and beyond to protect, improve, and enhance our Northland environment. These are the people and organisations who are helping to ensure our unique and precious taonga are protected and enhanced for future generations.

Many of the entrants in attendance on the night have been doing inspiring mahi for decades and others are at the start of their journeys. Wherever you may be, we’d like to thank each of you for your outstanding work to protect our environmental taonga.

We simply can’t do it alone – and so this celebration is all about you, our Northland community and what you are collectively doing to help Taitokerau thrive.

He rau ringa e oti ai - With many hands the work will be completed together