2023 Cawthron Marlborough Environment Award Winners Announced 

21 April 2023

Trail-blazing technology to test for disease and environmental issues out in the field has won the Supreme Award at the 2023 Cawthron Marlborough Environment Awards, announced at the Marlborough Events Centre last night.

Cawthron is proud to sponsor these awards, which have been running for 25 years and are held every two years to showcase Marlborough businesses and community projects that protect and enhance the environment.

Supreme Award Winner DNAiTECH has developed DNA sampling and analysis that gives on-the-spot results for a quick response and action, rather than waiting for samples to be sent to a lab for analysis.

The software and equipment is easy to use and has a wide range of applications in testing for harmful pathogens in water, soil, plants, insects and humans. There is also an educational element to the business, which aims to introduce students to applying science to real-life situations.

The judges were impressed by the innovation and wide range of environmental applications, the ease of use, and DNAiTECH’s commitment to engaging young people in science.

With the winners announced, attention now turns to the public field days, which will be held with all winners to share their knowledge and experience.

The Awards are also supported by the Marlborough District Council, Department of Conservation and local sponsors.

The Supreme winner was selected from the seven category winners announced at the Awards Event. They are:

Landscape and Habitat Enhancement: East Coast Protection Group

Increased pressure on wildlife and landscape after the uplift of the Kaikoura earthquake led to the formation of the East Coast Protection Group. They are raising awareness about the special plant and animal communities in the area and collaborating with many others to look after them.

Marine: Marine Flex

Picton company Marine Flex has developed a mooring and anchor system that reduces damage to the seabed under marine farms, boats and jettys. Marine Flex’s rubber cables are a big improvement on conventional heavy chains that sweep the seafloor and impact marine habitat and sealife. The Marine Flex mooring system is sold around the world.

Farming: Sevenoaks

Sevenoaks, farmed by Paul and Cath Baker near Renwick, impressed the judges for its diversity. Sheep, beef, seed crops and grapes are grown alongside wetland and biodiversity projects, and there is some tourism activity as well. The Bakers have put a lot of thought into successfully matching land use with land suitability.

Wine Industry: Repost

It took a farmer to come up with Repost – a company that recycles broken, chemically treated grape posts into fencing. This solves a serious waste disposal issue for winegrowers, plus provides affordable posts for fencing off streams and significant natural areas around New Zealand. It’s a win for winegrowers, farmers and the environment.

Community Innovation: Picton Dawn Chorus

The skilled and energetic team at Picton Dawn Chorus have mobilised volunteers and households to trap pests and bring back native birds. They are constantly thinking of new ways to do things, encouraging and engaging with volunteers. The judges applauded Picton Dawn Chorus’s community-driven response to deal with a degraded environment and the results they’ve achieved.

Forestry: M&R Forestland Mangement

M&R Forestland Management focused on good planning and working closely with their logging contractor to reduce erosion, sedimentation and damage to waterways during harvesting at Canantor Forest in the Wakamarina Valley. The judges said this collaboration provides a strong example for other forestry companies to follow.

Business Innovation: DNAiTECH

More information on the winners: cmea.org.nz

Image: CMEA. 2023 Environment Award Supreme Winners DNAiTECH with category sponsors.

Image: Cawthron. Cawthron Marlborough Environment Awards co-ordinator Bev Doole on stage with Marlborough Environment Awards Trust chair Jo Grigg

Image: CMEA. Cawthron CEO Volker Kuntzsch

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