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Greenest Neighbourhood 2013/2014

Congratulations to Ames Street in Paekakariki for winning the title of 'Greenest Neighbourhood 2014'!

Congratulations to Ames Street in Paekakariki for winning the title of 'Greenest Neighbourhood 2014'!

The result was announced at a prizegiving the Sustainable Home and Garden Show on Sunday 23 March 2014.

Ames Street with two other neighbourhoods - Waimeha Lagoon of Waikanae Beach and Reikorangi in Waikanae Rural - have participated in the nine-month competition since early July 2013 to reduce their average environmental footprint, increase resilience and build community.
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 a panel of judges including Mayor Ross Church, Bob Glensor, Kath Irvine, Paul Kennett and Professor Brenda Vale. The judges toured the neighbourhoods at the start and end of the competition and followed their activities in between via a blog at www.greenestneighbourhood.net

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.

About Greenest Neighbourhood 2013/14

Greenest Neighbourhood 2013/14 (previously Greenest Street) launched with three enthusiastic and diverse groups of neighbours (Neighbourhoods) participating from across the Kāpiti District:

  • Ames Street, Paekakariki;
  • Reikorangi, Waikanae;
  • Waimeha Lagoon, Waikanae Beach.

On 6 July 2013, the three groups met each other and the judges for the first time over afternoon tea and a quiz. Soon after, the judges toured the neighbourhoods soon after to meet the groups in their 'natural habitat'.

Over the following nine months the Neighbourhoods competed to reduce their environmental impact and build friendlier, more resilient communities, with the support and assistance of the Kāpiti Coast District Council. Expert advice on gardening, water conservation, energy conservation, civil defense, travel planning, biodiversity, surface water management, waste and recycling was given via workshops, often held in the Neighbourhoods themselves.

Neighbour groups applied for Council Grants, such as the Waste Reduction Grants for Community Projects (August/September 2013) and funding assistance for rain/greywater systems.

A series of fun challenges took place throughout the competition, pitting the neighbourhoods against each other and teams of 'veterans' from the previous two rounds of the competition. Then at the end of the competition the Neighbours remeasured their environmental footprint and met the judges again (on their second tour on 9 March 2014) to show them their achievements. The results of the tour, information on the blogsite, and footprint quizes were used to determine the winners.

Useful links

Ames Street, Paekākāriki
Reikorangi, Waikanae
Waimeha Lagoon, Waikanae