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Tāngaro Tuia te Ora Advisors Finalists in NZer Environmental Heroes of the Year Award

Two of our truly inspiring Advisors, Graeme Atkins and Stu Muir, are now finalists in the Kiwibank, Ministry for the Environment New Zealand Environmental Hero of the Year - Te Toa Taiao o te Tau.

"Graeme and Stu both have an unwavering commitment to safeguarding Aotearoa's natural biodiversity and advocating for what needs to be done to restore te taiao," says Natalie Jessup, GM of Tāngaro Tuia te Ora, the Endangered Species Foundation. "We are so stoked to see that their many years of dedication, passion and leadership has been recognised, and they are now two out of three finalists, from hundreds of other nominations".

Graeme Atkins, from Gisborne Tairāwhiti, embodies the essence of kaitiakitanga, a principle deeply rooted in Māori cultural heritage that emphasizes guardianship and protection of the environment. Graeme's lifelong dedication to flora conservation, spanning his tenure as a Department of Conservation (DOC) Ranger, has positively influenced the East Coast region for generations to come. Graeme has also founded the Tairawhiti Ngutukākā Project and has played an integral role as kaimahi, establishing the Māori-led Raukūmara Pae Maunga project, which aims to restore the ngāhere (forests), awa (rivers) and rohe (area) of the Raukūmara ranges.

Graeme has been instrumental in safeguarding endangered plant species like ngutukākā (kakabeak), keeping alive Putiputi o Te Aopouri – Flower of the Underworld, and raising awareness about environmental threats such as myrtle rust infestation.

His tireless efforts, coupled with his humility and passion for sharing knowledge, have inspired communities and individuals alike to engage in conservation efforts, ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come.

Stu Muir, who is our Advisor for Awa and Wetland Restoration is based at the end of the Waikato River.

He brings a unique perspective to environmental conservation, drawing from his background as a fifth-generation farmer and his expertise in riparian and wetland restoration. Stu's transformative work on the Mangati stream, which flows through his family farm, serves as a testament to his dedication to revitalizing natural ecosystems. By championing initiatives such as native wetland restoration and pest control measures, Stu has not only rejuvenated the biodiversity of the area but has also fostered collaboration among various stakeholders, including indigenous communities and environmental organizations.

Stu's commitment to being a kaitiaki of both his farm and the environment exemplifies the spirit of environmental stewardship and inspires others to take action in safeguarding New Zealand's natural heritage.

Both Graeme Atkins and Stu Muir stand as shining examples of the profound impact individuals can have on environmental conservation. As the nation grapples with the challenges posed by our rapid biodiversity loss, the dedication and passion exhibited by Graeme and Stu serve as a beacon of hope, inspiring individuals and communities to take meaningful action towards building a more sustainable and resilient future for all.

Kia kaha kōrua, thank you so much for all that you do and inspiring us to all do more, and better, for te taiao and our Papatuānuku.

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