Franklin Local Board Chair Angela Fulljames is applauding Awhitu Peninsula farmers Andrew and Liisa Hamilton for their big haul at the recent Balance Farm Environment Awards.
The Hamiltons have won the DairyNZ Sustainability and Stewardship Award, the Hill Laboratories Agri-Science Award and the WaterForce Integrated Management Award at the event, which aims to recognise good farm practices which promotes sustainable land management.
Fulljames attended the Auckland Council-sponsored event, along with council chief executive Stephen Town, deputy mayor Bill Cashmore and fellow local board members Andy Baker and Alan Cole.
She says it’s great to see local farmers being recognised for their hard work.
“So many in our region feel a strong connection to their area and are working tirelessly at ensuring the environment is well-cared for,” Fulljames says.
“The Hamiltons are a prime example of this, so it’s great they are being recognised for their efforts.”
The Auckland Council-sponsored awards recognised the Hamiton’s work to regenerate land that’s not able to be farmed, to undertake massive riparian planting programmes and to work with the local community to regenerate wetlands on their property.
Andrew says their driving motivation behind all their work is to leave a legacy for future generations to enjoy.
“We are retiring off unproductive land and we’re also working with the local school doing a programme called Trees for Survival. We’ve fenced off all our waterways, even those that aren’t required to be fenced. It’s nice having a nice-looking farm and it’s nice seeing the bird life return," Andrew says.
“My family has been farming in this valley since the 1860s, so a big thing for us is to see that it’s left in a better state than when we got it.”
Whilst Andrew and Liisa aren’t particularly keen on the limelight that comes with winning awards, they were pleased to be able to show the Awards’ high calibre of judges, which includes local board deputy chair Andy Baker, what they’ve been doing.
"It was really an honour to have judges of such a high calibre come and view our farm and give feedback on what we’re doing – we really enjoyed that. And we really encourage other farmers to enter in this competition," Andrew says.
Local board member Alan Cole is a past winner in these awards and would encourage other farmers to put themselves forward for next year’s competition.
“So many farmers in our region are doing a great job at sustainably managing their land; but much of this work goes unheralded, so that’s why it would be good if more entered in this competition, so others can benefit from their example.”
To learn more about the awards and why you should enter go to nzfeatrust.org.nz/why-enter