Greener Neighbourhoods has developed from previous initiatives of the Kāpiti Coast District Council – Kāpiti Coast’s Greenest Street and Kāpiti Coast’s Greenest Neighbourhood. Both of its forerunners had the goals of increasing resilience, building community and reducing environmental impact.
Kāpiti Coast’s Greenest Street
Kāpiti Coast’s Greenest Street was launched in mid November 2010 and ran until late June 2011. Four Streets entered: ‘Kakariki Street’, Paekākāriki; Rainbow Court, Raumati South; Avion Terrace, Raumati Beach; and Te Roto Road, Ōtaki. Te Roto Road was declared to be ‘Kāpiti Coast’s Greenest Street 2011’. Their average environmental footprint was reduced from 3.6 Earths to 2.6, a reduction of 29%.
The second round ran from early October 2011 to early June 2012, attracting three Streets: Wellington Road North, Paekākāriki; Grange Park Ave, Raumati South; and Alexander Road North, Raumati Beach. Alexander Road North won the title of ‘Kāpiti Coast’s Greenest Street 2012’. They entered the competition with an average environmental footprint of 3.3 Earths and finished with 2.7 Earths – a reduction of 18%.
The competition was then reviewed and a summary document created. A full discussion of the competition process, outcomes and benefits, participant’s experiences and motivations can be found on the Kāpiti Coast District Council website: Building Sustainable Communities: Kāpiti Coast’s Greenest Street 2010-12.
Kāpiti Coast’s Greenest Neighbourhood
The third round, renamed Kāpiti Coast’s Greenest Neighbourhood to better reflect the geographical spread of households, was held between early July 2013 and late March 2014. Entrants were Ames Street, Paekākāriki; Reikorangi, Waikanae Rural; and Waimeha Lagoon, Waikanae Beach. Ames Street was named ‘Kāpiti Coast’s Greenest Neighbourhood 2014’ with a final footprint of 1.4 Earths – an improvement of 19%. The New Zealand average was 2.1 Earths.
Over the three rounds, official group sizes ranged from seven households (Alexander Road) to seventeen households (Avion Terrace), with a total of 109 households completing the competition (many groups had a number of other unofficial participants). They represented a varied cross-section of the Kāpiti community: young families, retirees, rural, urban, commuters, long-term residents and new arrivals.
With just nine months to tackle the ambitious goals they set for themselves, all of the Streets excelled. Several projects were implemented beyond the scope of anything we would have suggested as organisers. All ten groups achieved a significant reduction in their environmental footprint and stories abounded of new connections being made between neighbours, evolving into friendships.
The first two rounds of the competition were judged by Mayor Jenny Rowan, with a group of four others.
In 2010/11 these were:
- Joy Darke, NZ Gardener of the Year for the Wellington Region, 2010
- Kevin Milne, one of New Zealand television’s longest-serving reporters and co-host of ‘Fair Go’
- Caleb Royal, Director of Environmental Science and Management at Te Wānanga-O-Raukawa in Ōtaki
- Liana Stupples, Executive Director of the Hikurangi Foundation, an environmental not-for-profit
In 2011/12 these were:
- Robert Glensor, founder and managing director of Paraoa Bakehouse Ltd, New Zealand’s first and only BioGro-certified organic bakery and National Sustainable Business of the Year 2008
- Professor Brenda Vale, Research Fellow at Victoria University with a background in sustainable architecture and currently working on environmental footprinting
- Joy Darke
- Liana Stupples
Following an election in 2014, Mayor Rowan was replaced as a judge by Mayor Ross Church. He joined a judging panel of:
- Paul Kennett, one of the cycling Kennett brothers, with a keen interest in personal carbon efficiency, sustainable home DIY and community
- Kath Irvine, organic garden advisor and tutor through her company Edible Backyard and previous Council Green Gardener
- Brenda Vale
- Robert Glensor