top of page



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


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

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.


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 


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. 

bottom of page