We are thrilled that we are the winners of not only the Habitat Enhancement but also the overall Supreme Award at the Marlborough Environment Award!
This is a real boost for our project. The prize money will be used for the improvement of the Little Blue Penguin habitat.
On the 30th of May 2009 there will be an Open Day on Tui, organized by the Council.
Judges Feedback – Marlborough Environmental Award
The Plaisiers are driven by protecting native biodiversity and conservation values, for the future and the landscape. They take the holistic approach that their property will be a stepping stone in the Marlborough Sounds.
Buildings are sympathetic to the landscape and not visible from the bay. An SNA report was undertaken three years ago which gave a high ranking to the vegetation. Over 92 species were identified including tawa, hinau, kohekohe, matai, rimu, mixed beech etc. etc.
An enclosure, including growing native bush, has been built for a kakariki and gecko breeding programme/educational purpose. There are plans for giant weta and skinks, and ultimately perhaps kiwi? Bird counts have been done and an increase in weka noted.
The owners actively share their knowledge and experience with volunteers and run a small eco tourism business with guests staying in the cottage and eco cabins.
A student programme exchange with the USA is being sought for the 2009 winter that will provide environmental awareness and conservation tools to those who take up this opportunity.
The Plaisiers’ have clear perspective on where their property sits in the overall Sounds conservation scene and an open attitude when it comes to seeking, receiving and giving information. They are future-proofing; looking beyond the years that they will be ‘caretakers’ for this property.
The judges regard what this family is doing as a useful catalyst for inspiring others, especially those who think the whole environmental crisis reported by the media and others is too big a task for one family to have any impact on. They are living out their principles. This is not just a weekend hobby, but total immersion.
This is an outstanding example of a contribution to indigenous conservation.
Tui’s win benefits penguins
By CLAIRE CONNELL – The Marlborough Express
Marlborough’s little blue penguin colony is set to benefit from a major environmental award won by the Plaisier family.
At the Marlborough Environment Awards on Friday, the Plaisier family, from the outer Pelorus Sound, won the habitat enhancement and supreme awards for their Tui Nature Reserve.
The awards, presented at Drylands Restaurant, aim to celebrate those who protect and enhance the natural environment and use resources and energy efficiently.
Brian and Ellen Plaisier have spent 14 years developing the Tui Nature Reserve to its current standard, working alongside the Department of Conservation.
Native birds, including tuis, are beginning to return to the area.
An extensive poison-free pest management scheme has started to restore 42 hectares of native bush and wildlife, where over 92 native plants grow. About 38ha is legally protected as part of the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust. A specially built enclosure houses a Marlborough green gecko and a kakariki breeding programme.
The first-time competition entrants also run eco-boat tours from Havelock, and have an accommodation cottage and eco cabins for visitors to the reserve.
Mrs Plaisier said the blue penguin project had been on the cards for a while, but the $3000 environment awards prize money would speed up the process.
The family planned to work on pest control and make sleeping chambers for the declining number of penguins within the next few months.
“Even though we are 180m above sea level (on Waitata Ridge), we can still hear their calls it is beautiful.”
Children Leona, 14, and Liam, 12, have also played an active part in helping with the reserve project.
Mrs Plaisier said they were surprised to win because there were so many fantastic projects in the competition.
Because their property was isolated they did not really know who was involved in conservation work in Marlborough, Mr Plaisier said. “It was great to meet the people behind the projects. It is good to see that people in Marlborough are working to improve the environment that’s very important.”
The family wished to thank their award sponsors Spy Valley Wines, Marlborough Research Centre and Plant and Food Research as well as Marlborough District Council, Department of Conservation, Queen Elizabeth II trust, New Zealand King Salmon, volunteers and guests.