April 01, 2021
Puniu awa cleanup wins Te Huia local hero tohu
The 2021 Kiwibank New Zealand Local Hero of the Year is Māori environmental engineer Shannon Te Huia for his work to restore the Pūniu River.
He says his passion for te taiao came from growing up on the banks of the river at Mangatoatoa Marae just south of Te Awamutu.
His ropu Pūniu River Care plants native trees and undertakes other work to restore the ecosystem and encourage biodiversity, and it's inspiring others to restore their ancestral awa.
"We provide hope for other marae across the country that it can be done and it can be led from the marae. There's definitely a lot of interest and we've been travelling around speaking with people with similar goals and providing a bit of guidance," Mr Te Huia says.
Microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles is the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year.
Mental health advocate Jazz Thornton is Young New Zealander of the Year, academic and author Dr Doug Wilson too Te Mātāpuputu o te Tau Senior New Zealander of the Year tohu, Ranjna Patel was New Zealand Innovator of the Year for her role in Ghandi Nivas and the Christchurch Mosque Victims Group was recognised as New Zealand Community of the Year Ngā Pou Whirinaki o te Tau.
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