Sound environmental management is good business

The Cawthron Marlborough Environment Awards are held every two years to showcase businesses or community projects that are good for the environment. 

 The Awards are open to any business, community group or individual working in Marlborough. Judges are looking for entrants who protect and enhance the environment and use resources and energy efficiently. 


The Awards are run by a charitable trust and are supported by the Cawthron Institute, Marlborough District Council, Department of Conservation and local sponsors. 






1 August 2020


October-December 2020


5 March 2021


Chris Dawkins and family accept the Supreme Award, sponsored by Plant & Food Research and the Marlborough Research Centre

Supreme Award: The Pyramid

Diversification is the key to The Pyramid farm in the Avon Valley, which won the Supreme Award at the 2019 Cawthron Marlborough Environment Awards. 


Farmed by Chris and Julia Dawkins and family, sheep are the backbone of the operation with improved productivity through a composite breed for lamb production. Cattle complement the sheep with a focus on Jersey bulls for the dairy industry. 


The Dawkins are leaders in farm forestry.  Fifteen percent of the property is planted in pine, eucalyptus, poplar and other species. Waste wood goes to the family’s firewood business. The trees also provide erosion control, shade for stock, and a beautiful landscape. A large area along the River has been fenced to allow native bush to regenerate, which is protected with a QEII covenant. 


An apiary and a vineyard complete the picture. The judges describe
The Pyramid as a great example of land use well matched to land capability.


Science has been a valuable part of their farming with many trials conducted over the years with trees, pasture and clover types. The Dawkins seek technical advice and challenge themselves to find ways to put it into practice on farm. Hard work, research, and reinvestment is paying off for the farm, and for the environment. 


It was clear to the judges that the next generation has inherited and absorbed Chris and Julia’s strong values, and will carry on the tradition of sound environmental and farming management.

The Dawkins Family - winners of the Farming Award, sponsored by Federated Farmers

Picton Dawn Chorus, winners of the Landscape and Habitat Enhancement Award sponsored by Morgans Road Nursery

Landscape/Habitat Enhancement: Picton Dawn Chorus

Picton Dawn Chorus is a trail-blazing community project with one clear aim: to get rid of predators in the 2000ha around Picton and Waikawa. 


The result will be more native bush and more native birds and a widening halo of habitat around the Kaipupu Wildlife Sanctuary, another entrant in these Awards. 


This daunting task is being tackled by a committed group of volunteers that’s working to bring the community with them.  No poison’s used and as well as an extensive trapping network they have encouraged more than 250 residents to put traps in their gardens. 

Since starting in 2016, Picton Dawn Chorus has raised more than $200,000 and trapped more than 4000 rats, possums, stoats and other pests. 

Their ability to engage with the community, manage volunteers and keep improving trapping techniques all add up to Picton Dawn Chorus leading the way for community-driven urban pest control.

Vines Village Cafe, Wine Cellar and Stores, winners of the Business Innovation Award sponsored by Cuddon Engineering

Business Innovation: Vine's Village Cafe

Twin brothers Jeff and Tim Fulton are constantly coming up with ways to make the Vines Village Café, Wine Cellar and Stores a place where families and tourists feel welcome and the environment is looked after as well.


In the past five years they’ve transformed the property with native plantings, vege gardens and a small lake. Behind the scenes their efforts have gone into waste reduction, recycling, supporting local producers and hosting community fundraisers.  Each project is approached with a strong environmental and business perspective and a desire to keep improving. 


They see great potential for Marlborough as a cycling destination and were instrumental in setting up the Golden Mile cycle trail connecting cellar doors and restaurants in Rapaura and Renwick. 


They have an open and co-operative approach to business. Rather than focusing on protecting their slice of the market, they’re growing the tourism pie to be bigger for everyone, backed by a strong belief in looking after the environment. 

Pernod Ricard Winemakers, winners of the Wine Industry Award sponsored by Wine Marlborough

Wine Industry: Pernod Ricard Winemakers

There’s no such thing as “business as usual” at Pernod Ricard Winemakers, whose brands include Brancott Estate, Stoneleigh and Deutz. They have a company-wide approach to continuous improvement, and their latest challenge is to achieve Zero Waste to landfill by 2020. 


Staff are auditing waste and coming up with solutions such as converting to steel vineyard posts, influencing suppliers to provide recyclable or reusable packaging, and developing alternative uses for grape marc. 


The growth in Pernod’s vineyard biodiversity projects is benefiting native ecosystems, enhancing the work environment for staff and helping to visually soften the landscape.  Other initiatives include carbon accounting and creating dedicated teams to look ahead and develop solutions to environmental challenges. Pernod Ricard Winemakers is a multi-national company that shows genuine concern for the environment they operate in. It’s using its scale to make significant improvements and paving the way for other wine companies to follow.

Kaipupu Wildlife Sanctuary, winners of the Community Innovation Award sponsored by Radich Law  

Community Innovation: Kaipupu Wildlife Sanctuary

Kaipupu Wildlife Sanctuary near Picton is a 40-hectare predator-free site with a strong emphasis on community involvement and education. The project won the Habitat Enhancement Award in 2015 for its trapping and native bush restoration and since then rowi kiwi and South Island robin have been released.


Close links are being forged with other community groups such as Picton Dawn Chorus…  and there’s a growing emphasis on education and guided visits to share the conservation message. 


The education programme aims to engage and inspire the whole community, from preschool to adult, through a hands-on conservation experience. 

Visitors are encouraged to make a difference in their own back yard by planting trees to attract native birds, and setting traps to deal with predators.


All of these activities are creating community support and raising the profile of Kaipupu Wildlife Sanctuary, which bodes well for the ongoing sustainability of this restoration project. 

Merrill and Ring, winners of the Forestry Award sponsored by Marlborough Forest Industry Association 

Forestry: Merrill and Ring

Forest management company Merrill and Ring is going above and beyond what’s required to harvest pines around ecologically significant sites at the Branch River pine plantation.


The property was purchased part-way through harvesting and the new owners, Australian company New Forests, have raised the bar for the environment. 

Pine trees are being felled and extracted more carefully… and tōtara seed is being collected from the native forest remnants and grown out to seedlings. These will be planted as a wide buffer zone on land retired from production forest that will be protected by QEII covenants.  


The judges were impressed by the innovative thinking to protect biodiversity and manage slash and sediment, which are industry-wide issues. By aiming for best practice, Merrill and Ring are showing  other forest owners how to make environmental sustainability a priority, while improving health and safety

on the hill.  

Marlborough Girls College Marine Team, winners of the Marine Award sponsored by Port Marlborough

Marine Award: Marlborough Girls College

The Marlborough Girls College Marine Team are on a mission to find a better way to protect the Marlborough Sounds.  As part of the Environmental Sustainability Course, these eight students looked at previous management of the Sounds and realised there is an urgent need for better protection…  the current system has to change. 


Their proposal - to create a collaborative group of all the different stakeholders and give them the powers to protect and manage the marine area - is a new way forward. They drafted special legislation and won support from the Marlborough District Council to present it to the Prime Minister. 


They’ve worked with the community, coastal scientists, university academics, the media, and Cabinet ministers to create political pressure and raise awareness about the Marlborough Sounds. The judges were impressed by their persistent and game-changing approach, and also congratulate the College for encouraging students to look beyond the classroom and connect with the broader community. 





Sponsored by Wine Marlborough

Sponsored by Morgans Road Nursery

Folium Vineyard  Dry grape-growing

Mount Base Vineyards  Grapes and biodiversity

Steamtech Systems  Dry steam-cleaning

Pernod Ricard Winemakers Vine and winery improvement

DayvinLeigh  Vineyard wetland development

Picton Dawn Chorus Community predator control

Lake Elterwater  Restoration plantings

Sponsored by Cuddon

Sponsored by Radich Law

Boomerang Bags  Fabric shopping bags

Okiwi Bay Water Scheme  Community water project

Marlborough Girls College Sustainability course

Kaipupu Wildlife Sanctuary Biodiversity and education

Vines Village Cafe  Green cafe initiatives

Smiths Farm Holiday Park  Camping and accommodation

Waikaitu  Organic seaweed products

Steadfast Sail  School science programme

NFP Fibreglass  Remote toilet solutions

Sponsored by Federated Farmers

The Pyramid  Food, fibre and forestry

Sponsored by Marlborough Forest Industry Assn

Merrill and Ring Totara propagation and planting

Sponsored by Port Marlborough

Friends of Nelson Haven   Watchdog for the Sounds 

Waikawa Dive Centre  Underwater clean-up 

Marlborough Girls College  Marine protection campaign

NZ King Salmon  Marine farming initiatives

Wind and Wave Hull Cleaner  Boat antifouling system

Marine Farming Association  Environmental certification


The judges visit between October and December at a time that suits you. Judging takes between one and three hours depending on your entry.
It is a friendly two-way process
aimed at getting the best information and sharing experience. Each entrant receives a comprehensive judging report.
The Awards Dinner is a fun night
 and a great opportunity to find out more about the business people and community groups doing good things for our environment.
The 2021 Awards Dinner will be held on  Friday March 5 at the Marlborough Convention Centre.

Once the winners have been announced it's the turn of the public to see what impressed the judges at a series of field days.
It's a chance for each category
winner to share their knowledge
and experience. 
The Field Days are free and open to everyone and will run from April to October 2021.





Field days


Stories behind all the winners

March 29, 2019


From The Pyramid family farm to predator control in Picton,  The Saturday Express highlights the efforts of the seven category award winners

Rod Oram: We're all in this together

March 22,  2019


Commentator and guest speaker Rod Oram takes a global view of climate change and brings the message home: "We all need to play our part, and help each other play our part."

Voice of experience praises trail-blazers

March 28,  2019


Ross Beech has seen the Awards from all angles - as an entrant, judge and now trustee. He acknowledges the efforts of this year's entrants who are blazing a trail for better environmental practice in Marlborough. 

Indoor lambing features in Farming entry

March 5, 2019


The Dawkins family have been farming at The Pyramid for three generations but that doesn't stop them from innovating. Indoor lambing was just one of the progressive approaches that judges saw on a property that also features farm forestry, honey production, grape-growing and a firewood business. 

Wine entrant shows how to cope in drought 

March 5, 2019


While some vineyards around Marlborough are struggling without irrigation, it's business as usual for Cawthron Marlborough Environment Awards entrant Takaki Okada. He turned off his irrigation in 2011 and dry-farms his Folium vineyard to get intense, individual wines that show the variation of each vintage. 

August 3, 2018


Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage launched the 2018-19 Cawthron Marlborough Environment Awards, praising them as a way to encourage people to protect nature,

use the land and water sustainably, and strengthen connections across the community. 

Conservation Minister launches 2019 Awards
Winners share good reasons to enter

August 2018


Entering the Awards helped Steve and Mary Satterthwaite realise that small steps could make a big difference on their high country farm.



Gerard Farm, Hopai

Mike and Kristen Gerard have converted the limitations of their remote Marlborough Sounds farm into strengths, working their livestock, forestry and biodiversity restoration in with their environment.    MORE...




Steve and Mary Satterthwaite have  waged war on weeds and animal pests on their 38,000ha station, while also  developing 

 innovative farming practices.   MORE...


Dog Point Vineyard

 Dog Point Vineyard is one of the largest organic vineyards in NZ and their focus on landscape plantings is a great example of  conservation with a commercial edge.   MORE...


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Rats, stoats, possums and feral cats are targeted in this volunteer project to protect the habitat of endangered bats.   MORE...


Marlborough Harvesting 

Detailed planning and an aerial harvesting system improved safety for the crew and protection for the environment on a challenging logging site in the Onamalutu Valley.   MORE...


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This 2400ha pine and douglas fir plantation shows how production forestry can go hand in hand with environmental protection.   MORE...


NZ Dryland Forests Initiative

NZDFI is a long-term research project running trials to select the best eucalypt species for durable hardwood and replace chemically treated vineyard posts.


Skateboards made from recycled oak wine barrels are works of art and a sustainable form of transport
too.  MORE...


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Outward Bound school at Anakiwa is using innovative wastewater treatment and education to keep sewage out of the marine environment.  MORE...


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Sanford mussel company are leading the way in reducing plastic, increasing fuel efficiency and recycling as they work to look after the environment their business depends on. MORE...


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Tohu Wines

Tohu Wines' research and trials into organic methods to control brown beetle damage in the vineyard is part of their company's 500-year sustainability plan. MORE...


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Lochmara sewage scheme

The Lochmara Lodge sewage scheme in Double Cove has been a big commitment for bach owners but leads the way in improving water quality in the Marlborough Sounds. MORE... 

This weekly market, run by volunteers, supplies fresh local food, fair prices for the growers and a friendly meeting place.   MORE...


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A huge volunteer effort is behind the garden tours and workshops

that attract thousands to the region each year and raises funds for community planting projects.  MORE...





Wine Industry Innovation

Landscape and Habitat


Business Innovation



Community Innovation





Awards Co-ordinator

T 03 570 5233   M 021 069 7836


Awards Co-ordinator

T 03 520 7400