Award winning night for the Trust

Peter Williams Leading Light Awards MCAt last night’s 4th West Coast Leading Light Business Excellence Awards, MC’d by TV One’s Peter Williams, the Trust was very proud to be named winner in both its categories.

A few weeks ago, the Trust was delighted to be named as a finalist in the Not for Profit and the Environment category of this year’s Leading Light awards.  However, we knew we were up against tough opposition with Ngati Waewae as the other Not for Profit finalist and Holcim Cement Westport Works and Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier the other finalists in the Environment category.

Trust Chair, Kerry-Jayne Wilson and Manager, Inger Perkins, with the Westland Milk products team and the Not for Profit trophy

Trust Chair, Kerry-Jayne Wilson and Manager, Inger Perkins, with the Westland Milk products team and the Not for Profit trophy

Being declared the winner of the Not for Profit category, which is sponsored by Westland Milk Products, is a wonderful accolade for the Trust.  This award acknowledges “the invaluable work of community and charity organisations” and, on being presented with the glass trophy by Noel Robb, a Director of WMP, Trust Chair Kerry-Jayne Wilson explained:

“This is a prize far greater than this beautiful trophy.  It is the exposure it gives us to fellow coasters who we may not otherwise connect with, and the kudos it gives us when seeking financial or in-kind support for our Trust, so vital for any non profit organisation.”

It’s been nearly 150 years since the Ngāi Tahu hapū Ngāti Waewae have had a marae they can call their own and, after four years in the making and  costing an estimated $5.5 million with extraordinary fundraising efforts and project management led by Chair Francois Tumahai, the wonderful new Arahura marae was opened in November last year.  We didn’t think penguins could top that, but the team representing Ngati Waewae at the awards were very gracious, acknowledging that penguins, korora and tawaki, are very precious to them, they feel a close connection to them, and they were pleased that the Trust had won the award.

This is the first year for the Department of Conservation sponsored Leading Light Environment award and, having been a winner of its fore-runner, the West Coast Conservation Awards, a few years ago, the Trust was keen to showcase its work over recent years, particularly the penguin protection fence, the new education resource and its expansion to work with Fiordland crested penguins and other threatened seabirds.

Fellow finalist Scenic Hotel in Franz Josef, the winner of the Tourism & Hospitality category earlier in the evening, has a strong commitment to the environment and sustainability and participates in the “Save the Rowi” initiative (the local kiwi conservation project) among other environmental activities.

Holcim at Westport, the other finalist, have been a sponsor and supporter of the Trust for many years and they have been rehabilitating closed quarry areas with the ultimate goal of restoring a mosaic of indigenous forest and wetland communities.  Being so close to the coast, the occasional blue penguin has found its way into the plant and the staff delight in telling of their rescue.  Holcim were also a winner earlier in the evening, site manager Chester Goodson accepting the Enterprise 30+ award. 

The new environment award recognises businesses or organisations that demonstrate guardianship of the natural environment through their actions, innovation, leadership and use of best practice.  DOC’s Director General, Lou Sanson, explained the new award and he also told the packed audience at Shantytown about his West Coast roots and pride in DOC’s collaborations with Councils, Development West Coast and community groups in the region.

DOC DG, Lou Sanson, announces that the Trust has won the environment category

DOC DG, Lou Sanson, announces that the Trust has won the environment category

After a pause to open the envelope, Lou Sanson announced that the West Coast Penguin Trust had won the first award in this new category!  Everyone seems to love penguins and everyone present seemed to be pleased for the Trust, none more so than our friends at Holcim. 

Kerry-Jayne Wilson and Lou Sanson with the first Leading Light Environment Award

Kerry-Jayne Wilson and Lou Sanson with the first Leading Light Environment Award

Kerry-Jayne accepted the award from Lou saying:

“We wish to acknowledge our fellow finalists Holcim, who have been one of our most loyal sponsors, and of course DOC.  We rely on these as well as other sponsors, donors and supporters.  Without their support we could do nothing.”  

The final award for the night was the Super Nova Award sponsored by the Greymouth Star.  Every category winner is eligible and we were delighted when Holcim was named the Super Nova winner for 2015.  Congratulations to your team!

The Holcim Westport team wins the Super Nova award

The Holcim Westport team wins the Super Nova award

 Every awards ceremony is filled with gratitude and this one was no different.  We’d like to say thank you to Development West Coast for presenting the event and to Helen Wilson for making it happen, to Dave Kwant for making us another wonderful video (to be available soon), to Kristine Hickford for allowing her class at Kaniere School to be filmed learning about penguins, and of course, the category sponsors, Westland Milk Products and the Department of Conservation.  Thank you particularly to Jose and Helen at DOC and the DOC judges for their work behind the scenes.

We’ll have some official photos soon, but in the meantime, here are our awards night team, Karyn Roberts, Reuben Lane, Kerry-Jayne Wilson and Inger Perkins.

the team Leading Light 2015 c r 

Reuben Lane, Kerry-Jayne Wilson and Inger Perkins with the Not for Profit and Environment Leading Light awards

Reuben Lane, Kerry-Jayne Wilson and Inger Perkins with the Not for Profit and Environment Leading Light awards