Aka Aka’s Stu Muir has been named as one of Waikato’s selfless, optimistic and generous citizens at the annual Kiwibank Local Hero Awards.
As part of the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards 2018, Stu was one of 12 locals who received their medals at a special ceremony on Thursday 9 November 2017 at the Waikato Museum.
Always humble, Stu stated that the work he completes in the community isn’t about the recognition, but rather ensuring that the environment is looked after and preserved for the future generations to enjoy.
Stu is a fifth generation dairy farmer, and along with his family, has invested huge effort into restoring natural waterways on his farm. This includes clearing and regenerating waterways that had been blocked, stagnant and dying since the 1920s.
The work has involved the removal of invasive plants and replanting the wetlands with over 40,000 native plants. He has created a path of boardwalks through the wetlands to enable tuition about the crucial role wetlands play in biodiversity.
Stu regularly welcomes schools and community members onto his farm, teaching them that farming is not just about the physical side. It also includes science, innovation, history and culture of the people on the land and the environment. Local schools, including Aka Aka, have ongoing relationships with the wetland and his farm, and help with planting and monitoring the regeneration project.
Stu is a fluent te Reo speaker with a strong sense of kaitiaki (guardian of the environment) for the land and natural elements. He has been described as an inspiration for landowners and dairy farmers, and it was for those reasons that he has been recognised as a Kiwibank Local Hero.
Stu is now in the running for the national Local Heroes title, which will be announced at the New Zealander of the Year Gala Awards in Auckland of February next year.
CAPTION: Stu Muir,(back row, second from left) at the annual Kiwibank Local Hero Awards.
Back Row: Dr Clyde Wade, Stu Muir, Ally Tairi, Donna Young, Elizabeth McMurray, Angie Millar. Front Row: Mary Addison, Graeme Watts, Christine Harstone, Annah Stretton, Don Willoughby