At a function hosted by the NZ Coastal Restoration Trust our Pat la Roche was presented with their highest Award last evening. The Pingao and Toheroa Award for special contributions to environmental preservation. Attended by some 55 invited guests Greg Bennett, NZ Coastal Restoration Trust Chair, presented the Award to Pat. MC for the evening was Nigel Mark-Brown, Piha Coastcare deputy Chair and Linda Cooper representing Auckland Council presented Pat with flowers and thanked her for decades of selfless work. A truly wonderful occasion with many wonderful accolades for Pat.
And now a few words from Pat herself:
Pat La Roche: Reflections on receiving the Pingao Toheroa Award
I was already booked in for a trip to India in March/April this year when I discovered to my disappointment that the Annual Conference of the Coastal Restoration Trust of New Zealand was being held in Warkworth, with field trips covering areas quite close to home. While I was away I heard on the grapevine that during the conference there had been an announcement that I had received an award. I thought it was a welcome general acknowledgement of the work Coastcare has done in Piha.
However, after I got home and looked online I found that the award was the Pingao Toheroa Award “to celebrate the exceptional contributions of an individual to coastal restoration” and when I read the names of those who had won the award before me, I was completely overwhelmed and humbled.
I had similar feelings about the host of friends and supporters who came to the presentation of the award in the cafe on May 4th. To quote one happy attendee; It was a lovely occasion and good to catch up with many locals in the friendly, happy, supportive atmosphere. My heartfelt thanks to all those who came and made it such a joyful event.
It’s taken me a lot of remembering our history and the very real contributions and sacrifices people have made to see that there was justification for sending the award our way.
THANK YOU. I would like to acknowledge everyone who has supported and encouraged us along the way. However some particularly stand out, and it is thanks to these people that we have more-or-less intact dunes at Piha today
Chris Ferkins who, while working with environmental community groups under Waitakere City Council, put himself and at times, his job, on the line. His absolute integrity, his passion for the natural environment, and his unstinting support for anyone trying to make a difference is unsurpassed in our Coastcare story.
Jim Dahm, one of New Zealand’s outstanding coastal scientists, has also shown extraordinarily generous support of community endeavours, and has unstintingly shared his outstanding knowledge of coastal processes.
Our local Regional Park Rangers are gems. They bring their passion for the natural environment into their work every day and that includes days when they are officially off duty.
Our Piha Coastcare Trust Board is always supportive, and contains a deep well of expertise that I have been able to draw on. However, I have to single out the work of Yvonne Dufaur. While she is officially Treasurer, she contributes a huge amount more than that, and has been the person who has kept me going so long.
And the succession of volunteers who have done the donkey work in so many projects, including the progressive dune restoration from the far south to beyond the twin streams.