Nicola MacDonald

New Zealand Environmental Hero of the Year

2024

Environmental

New Zealand Environmental Hero of the Year

Te Toa Taiao o te Tau

Environmental

NOMINATIONS OPEN WEDNESDAY 24 JULY

The people ensuring the future of our environment. These are the ones who have made a remarkable contribution to restoring our environment and/or protecting our unique species.

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 2024 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

Nicola MacDonald

Nicola MacDonald ( Ngāti Wai, Te Rarawa, and Taranaki) is a practitioner of kaitiakitanga who believes in walking her talk – hikoi te korero. A dedicated conservationist, she led the deployment of the world’s largest shellfish bed restoration (150 tonnes of mussels) in Te Moananui-ā-Toi/The Hauraki Gulf, has participated in and planted over over 350,000 trees in the Mahurangi to combat the impacts of climate change, and is a co-researcher on mātauranga Māori methods to use natural fibres replacing plastic ropes used for mussel spat. Nicola’s drive to tackle issues head on attracts people to join her in combating threats to te taiao/the environment, particularly her leadership in facing the invasion of the exotic caulerpa weed where she enlisted experts from California to help address this issue. Currently, she is a member of several governance bodies including the Māori Women’s Welfare League and the climate change platform Oho Mauri Trust. Nicola is also Chair of the Auckland Conservation Board, and Pou Taiao (representing the 19 mana whenua of Tāmaki Makaurau) and she is co-chair of the Hauraki Gulf Forum. Her approach embodies the essence of kaitiakitanga – safeguarding our environment for future generations. Grounded in te ao Māori, Nicola’s leadership consistently demonstrates her dedication to tangata whenua and maintaining the balance between our cultural heritage and the natural world.

Previous

winners

Nicola MacDonald

2024

Camden Howitt

2023

Charmaine Bailie

2022

Championing

New Zealand Environmental Hero of the Year

James Palmer

Chief Executive, Ministry for the Environment Te Tumu Whakarae mō te Taiao

"The Ministry for the Environment is honoured to celebrate these environmental heroes for their outstanding contributions to restoring and protecting our unique environment. Behind the scenes our heroes have spent decades supporting projects across Aotearoa to ensure our beautiful moana, whenua and native plants, birds and animals can thrive. It’s thanks to the mahi of these incredible New Zealanders that we are one step closer to creating a flourishing environment for future generations to enjoy."

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