Awards celebrate top environmental performers

Awards celebrate top environmental performers

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Central Hawke’s Bay couple Evan and Linda Potter have won the Premier Elworthy Award in the deer industry’s 2019 environmental awards. Central Otago farmers John and Mary Falconer won two of the other environment awards on offer. As did Adam and Sharon Waite, who farm near Dunsandel, Canterbury.

The Potters were praised by the award judges for the work they had done to enhance the environmental performance of their property, 640-hectare Waipapa Station, in the 20 years they have been the owners.

A bush-clad gully on their Elsthorpe farm is one of the most visible and attractive aspects of the Potters’ contribution. This was placed into a QEII covenant with strong support from the QEII Trust and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council. In addition the Potters were commended for their carefully planned nutrient management, waterway protection and other work.

Extensive use of willows and poplars has helped prevent soil erosion and the couple have also been careful to identify critical source areas in an effort to protect water quality.

The judges said building a thorough knowledge of soils on the property had helped the Potters develop an excellent fit of stock class to land.

Photo: Central Hawke’s Bay deer farmers Evan and Linda Potter, 2019 winners of Premier Elworthy Environmental Award.

In addition to the top prize, the Potters also received the NZ Landcare Trust Award for excellence in sustainable deer farming through action on the ground.

The Falconers’ two awards were the Duncan New Zealand Award for vision and innovation while mastering a demanding environment and the Gallagher Technology and Innovation Award for excellent utilisation of farming technologies to improve productivity and manage resources.

The Falconers have a wide range of deer-based business streams, including genetics, venison and velvet production and trophy hunting on their properties Clachanburn and Loganbrae.

In particular, the award judges commended the Falconers’ efforts to manage water quality and quantity in Central Otago’s low-rainfall environment. “They maintain water quality and quantity, protecting instream values, while providing security for the farm and local community,” said the award citation.

“They make extensive use of technology and data to inform and improve their management and take care to match stock to land class. This results in sustainable management of soils, water and biodiversity on both their extensive and intensive land.”

The Falconers were also praised for their extensive pest control work, protecting both biodiversity and their business.

Adam and Sharon Waite, who manage Northbank Station, an intensive finishing farm near Dunsandel in Canterbury, also won two awards: the Firstlight Foods Award for total commitment to farming sustainably with a strong customer focus and the NZDFA Next Generation Award for outstanding performance across environmental, financial and social aspects of the business.

The Waites have been managing an extensive redevelopment of Northbank, featuring more water-efficient irrigation systems, improved pasture covers and new native shelterbelts and other plantings to provide shade. The property is closely connected to Mountain River venison and plays an important part in the local community.

The award judges said they were impressed by the Waites’ efforts to continually improve the capacity of the soil through the strategic use of high producing crops. They also commended the couple for extensive use of documentation and recording based around the FarmIQ system.

Young South Canterbury couple Kiri Rupert and Josh Brook were highly commended by the judges for excellence in business planning, farm environment planning and farm succession.

Award entrants the Kinzett family, who farm for velvet production near Murchison, were acknowledged by the judges for the work they had done on fencing and shelterbelts, providing shade and shelter and screening stock classes to prevent deer from fence pacing.

Convenor of judges was Janet Gregory of NZ Landcare Trust. She said all the properties entered for the awards were well-managed farms of a high standard, and to be commended for the work they had done to improve environmental outcomes.

The biennial Deer Farmers’ Environmental Awards were instigated by the late Sir Peter Elworthy in 2000, with the inaugural awards made the following year.


For more information:

Dr Lindsay Fung, Environmental Stewardship Manager, Deer Industry New Zealand,
ph 027-668-0141,