Doubling down on the environment in Ōrākei

Publish Date : 13 Jun 2024
Moth Plant Winners 2024 OA
The Ōrākei School Moth Busters 2024.

Ōrākei environmentalists – young and old(er) – had a big day out with the Ōrākei Moth Plant Prizegiving and Local Board Enviro Forum taking place recently.

The Moth Plant Competition is supported annually by the Ōrākei Local Board, educating children and young people about this invasive weed that poses a significant threat to our native plants.

The aim of the competition is to create a team, and together try to remove and collect the most moth plant vines and pods, removing them from our ecosystem.

This year’s winners were the Newmarket Playcentre Warriors in the early childhood category - collecting 4,111 vines, and the Ōrākei School Moth Busters in the open category with a whopping 4,972 vines.

Following the prizegiving, the biannual Ōrākei Local Board Enviro Forum 2024 once again brought together community members with the environment at heart.

‘Sea Water – Our Blue Horizon’ was the theme this time around. Eventgoers were treated to presentations by Kingi Makoare, from Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, as well as Nigel Ironside and colleagues from Ports of Auckland about various projects happening in the Hauraki Gulf.

Common themes were research and restoration of our moana.

The board also took the opportunity to recognise the dedication and efforts of local resident Pat Northey, who was honoured with the Eco Award for her contribution to environmental work.

Pat Northey (left) being presented with a pounamu by Margaret Voyce.

Pat Northey (left) being presented with a pounamu by Margaret Voyce.

Board member Margaret Voyce, who presented the award, described Pat’s ecology restoration journey from its inception at a weeding session outside her gym 20 years ago through to five-hour weekly volunteering commitments now.

“This wonderful lady is a real gem,” said Margaret.

“She realised there was no money for trees, so commenced a seed-to-seedlings-to-trees programme. The seeds start off in her vege garden and are grown to sapling size, then transferred to our Pourewa Valley.”

Pat’s other commitments to the environment and her community have included the creation of a makeshift tree watering system during a recent summer drought, and donating produce from her garden to locals in need.

She said it was a “a real surprise” to receive the award and acknowledged others in the community.

“I’m accepting this award on behalf of the team of people, both past and present, who make up the care that is given to this valley,” said Pat.

“This award is really for them. I’m just one of many.”

She admitted the work doesn’t get any easier, especially as she gets older.

“You might ask why we keep coming back when we fall over and take a few weeks to recover. It’s because of the people we work with and the shared vision.”

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