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‘Environmental Leaders Fund unveils climate conscious winners’

Climate resilience and adaptation was a strong focus for the Northland Regional Council’s, 2023 Environmental Leaders Fund (ELF) that received an impressive 40 applications from across Te Taitokerau.

A total of $35,000 was awarded with the aim to support schools and early childhood centres with projects that increase their students’ knowledge and passion for the environment.

Twenty successful applicants were given up to $3000 each to turn climate positive projects into reality. These forward-thinking projects were aimed at enhancing biodiversity, nurturing te taiao (the environment) and caring for the earth’s resources.

Project examples included establishing on site compost stations, growing flourishing food forests, exploring the use of wool mats for biodegradable weed prevention and seed propagation.

Northland Regional Council Chair Geoff Crawford says the record number of applications reflects that as the climate changes, so must we.

“As the climate changes we must evolve our practices and continually adjust our actions to reduce risk.” “The projects being undertaken by each of these schools and centres shows that the younger generation is committed to exploring new opportunities to adapt to our changing climate and are forging a sustainable path forward.”

“We want to continue supporting our communities to make these changes and ELF is a great way for the younger generation to learn and expand their knowledge and skills in the climate resilience space.”

Surplus to the fund, the Toimata Foundation gifted numerous gardening tools – which some of the schools and centres were also awarded. The schools that received Toimata tools were Bay of Islands College, Kaihu School, Kawakawa Primary, Kerikeri Primary, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Rāwhitiroa, and Te Kura o Hato Hohepa Te Kamura.

Successful applicants are given one year to submit a project completion report including photos of the completed project.

A list of successful ELF applications per district:


Paparoa School – Project Paparoa, processing waste on site

Te Kopuru School – processing waste on site


Hurupaki School – Towards Hurupaki wetland development

Kamo High School – Community food propagation system

Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Rāwhitiroa – Toitū Te Rāwhitiroa, growing kai and processing waste

Te Kura o Otangarei / I Have a Dream Charitable Trust – Oasis in Otangarei – improving biodiversity

Waiotira Primary School – Waiotira Mara Kai Nui, growing kai,

improving biodiversity, exploring alternative energy and reducing emissions

Whangārei Boys’ High School – Riparian planting of Waiarohia Stream

Far North:

Inspiring Minds (early education centre) – Garden to table

Horeke School – Towards maara kai

Harinui Early Learning Centre (three and under) – Mini recycling station

Kaingaroa School – Ngahere restoration

Kawakawa Primary School – Rongoā garden project

Bay of Islands College – Mahi whenua – Food for whanāu

Kerikeri High School – Environmental hub

Kerikeri Primary- Rongoa Garden Project

Kohukohu School – Harbour protection

Ngataki School – Food forest and native area

Peria School – Save the greenhouse, improving biodiversity

Te Kura o Hato Hohepa Te Kamura – Whakapapa of kai, community māra


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