Steaming on the ferry across Cook Strait, the dead pine trees are obvious in the Queen Charlotte Sound.
The 10-year effort to poison and fell wilding pines through the bush and bach-dominated landscape has been rewarded with the Marlborough Sounds Restoration Trust taking the supreme award at the Cawthron Marlborough Environment Awards 2021, held in April.
The trust was set up in 2003 to stop the rapid spread of wilding pine trees and bring back the native bush and distinctive skylines of the Sounds. Working with landowners, the Marlborough District Council, government agencies and sponsors, the Trust raises funds to hire contractors to track down and poison each tree, one bay at a time. As the pines die off, the native bush returns. The efforts of this volunteer trust have had a huge impact on the appearance and biodiversity of the Sounds.
The Farming section had only one entry. However, it was the well-deserved winner Mount Oliver, a dairy farm in a high-rainfall Sounds catchment owned by Murray and Tanya Frost. Another farming enterprise, Pinoli Premium Pine Nuts, won the Business Innovation section.
The Forestry section was won by OneFortyOne Kaituna Sawmill. This sawmill has cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 46%. An inefficient kiln fuelled by waste oil has been replaced by a biomass fired power station.