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Camden Howitt

Camden Howitt has spent the past 14 years devoted to ending ocean pollution and regenerating nature. As Co-Founder of national charity Sustainable Coastlines, new recruit on PwC’s Sustainability and Climate Change team, member of the Aotearoa Plastic Pollution Alliance, and Edmund Hillary Fellow, Camden is an inspiring leader and a driving force for collaborative and scaleable solutions for te taiao. He has designed and delivered community environmental programmes around Aotearoa and the South Pacific; engaging 150,000 volunteers in protecting the places they love. Alongside his everyday mahi, Camden is also a regular contributor to national and global sustainability dialogue who consistently pushes for innovation and collaboration; twice addressing the United Nations in New York and presenting at the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya. Most importantly, his dedication is making an impact. To date, the charity team has removed a staggering 1.7 million litres of litter from our coastlines; planted 330,000 trees to restore waterways; provided education for ocean action for 250,000 school students and businesses, and contributed data to inform several of Aotearoa’s single-use plastic product bans.

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Jessi Morgan

Friends of environmentalist Jessi Morgan know that her standup mantra is “what have we done today to empower others to protect our taonga?" – and she means it. In 2013, Jessi helped set up the Predator Free New Zealand Trust, an organisation on a mission to inspire, empower and connect people and community groups nation-wide in their efforts to eradicate predators like rats, possums, mustelids and wild cats. She remains the Chief Executive of the Trust, where under her guidance the predator free movement continues to have a profound impact on communities and wildlife species across the motu. Prior to her work with the Trust, Jessi led the Million Dollar Mouse fundraising campaign – ultimately raising a million dollars to eradicate mice from Antipodes Island (the project was confirmed a success in 2018). However, it is not just her everyday mahi that makes Jessi stand out – but rather, her relationship-driven approach: connecting a diverse group of individuals across the sector with her infectious vision, transparency and passion for a thriving Aotearoa.

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Simon Hall

You’ve probably heard of Tasti food products – but you may not know that Executive Chairman, Simon Hall (Ngāti Kahungunu), has spent the last two decades channelling the success of Tasti into Kiwi conservation. Since 2006, Hall has poured nearly $12 million of profit into what has become New Zealand’s largest private conservation project – the Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust, a conservation initiative that re-establishes native New Zealand plants and animals at risk of extinction. Over the last two decades, Simon has purchased four significant wilderness blocks comprising predominantly native forest. On these blocks, he’s carried out a range of conservation projects with great success – last season alone, Hall and crew set a record with 94 kiwi chicks released into the wild. And there’s no stopping them now: this season they are on track to release even more!


Category criteria

To be eligible for this award, the nominee must have taken tangible action with proven impact towards protecting and restoring nature and the natural environment in Aotearoa.

Nominators should consider talking about the following areas in their nomination:

  • THE NOMINEE: Describe the person you are nominating and what they’ve done to inspire you over the past year to nominate them as the 2023 Ministry for the Environment New Zealand Environmental Hero of the Year Te Toa Taiao o te Tau.
  • PURPOSE: How does the environment benefit from the mahi, contribution, or influence of this person – and how?
  • COMMITMENT: Describe the commitment of time, risks, and challenges overcome to create an impact to this point (this may still be ongoing). What have they done that has gone above and beyond to show leadership, creativity/innovation, and create change?
  • PROVEN IMPACT: How has this person clearly demonstrated a positive impact to the environment* (particularly over the last 12-months)? How has this been measured?
  • LONG-TERM IMPACT: If known, how does the nominee plan to grow and/or adapt their work, contribution, or influence in the future? How would winning this award impact this person/group and the work that they are doing?

* What do we mean by positive impact to the environment? A nominee may be working towards reducing the impacts of: Climate change, air and water pollution, water scarcity, food insecurity, deforestation, rising sea levels, loss of species and habitat biodiversity, or loss of indigenous environmental knowledge and traditions. Or working in protection and restoration such as driving social change for the benefit of the environment, restoring lands and waterways or pest management.

Conditions of Entry