Ames Street of Paekākāriki has been named Kāpiti Coast’s Greenest Neighbourhood 2014 in a well-attended prizegiving at the Sustainable Home and Garden Show over the weekend.
The neighbourhoods were judged on a combination of factors: the size of their final footprint, how much they reduced their footprint over the duration of the competition and how they came together as a community. The last factor was evaluated by our panel of judges who toured the neighbourhoods at the start and end of the competition and followed their activities in between via this blog.
Ames Street attained a final footprint of 1.4 Earths* – an improvement of 19% from the start of the competition – winning $2000 to be split between a community group, a school and a neighbourhood project of their choice. Waimeha Lagoon finished on 1.2 Earths, down by 11%. Reikorangi’s footprint measurement was incomplete. The New Zealand average is 2.1 Earths.
“We benefitted from lots of initiatives started by previous Greenest Neighbourhood entrants, so it’s a win for the whole village really,” says Ames Street’s coordinator Vicky Noon.
Her neighbour Shona Jaunas credited Vicky with “the huge undertaking of getting us all out of our own worlds and into the project”.
Ames Street engaged in a range of activities over the course of the competition including creating a community garden, hosting a street party for the 80 or more households in the street, setting up household composting systems with a Waste Reduction Grant, and holding a series of workshops on water conservation, fruit tree pruning, building a biodigester and how to create a warmer, drier and more efficient home.
A series of prizes were also given to recognise outstanding individual achievements throughout the competition:
- Simon Calcinai of Waimeha Lagoon attained the smallest environmental footprint of 0.77 Earths.
- Vicky Noon achieved the greatest reduction of her footprint during the competition, decreasing it by 45%. Vicky says the key to her success was reducing the distances she drove by booking her son in for fewer, but longer, days at kindergarten; doing errands in conjunction with kindergarten trips; and taking the family’s annual holiday in Wellington rather than the UK.
- Leanne Myers received the award for Extraordinary Community Spirit for the effort she put into supporting and encouraging her Reikorangi neighbours, even after she shifted from the area during the competition.
- Rick Swan, also of Reikorangi, was given the Big Vision award. Rick has numerous projects on the go including developing an electric tricycle and experimenting with planting old-growth forest trees as both a carbon sink and a future harvest for his children and grandchildren.
- Julie Young of Waimeha Lagoon was presented with the Most Inclusive Project award for creating a children’s community garden in her front yard. Any children in the local area who wish to learn to garden are welcome, with Julie supporting keen ones to set up gardens at home. The garden also hosted a Matariki festival for children and their families.
Prizes were provided by Interislander, Kapiti Island Nature Tours, Eco Store, WREMO and the Kāpiti Coast District Council.
* Earths: environmental footprint is measured via information collected in a personal quiz and gives the land area needed to support a person’s lifestyle. ‘Earths’ expresses footprint as the total number of planet Earth’s needed if everyone in the world had the same environmental footprint (i.e. had lifestyles that required as much land) as the person taking the quiz. The NZ average environmental footprint is 2.1 Earths, but we only have one!