In 2007, Gary and Adrienne Dalton established the Te Whangai Charitable Trust to honour the memory of their daughter Leigh.
This year, the Trust won the region’s “Hill Laboratories Harvest Award”, one of the categories in the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, and they’re ecstatic that the work the Trust undertakes, has been recognised.
Daughter Leigh was passionate about the environment and about helping others. When she died in a car accident, Gary and Adrienne were inspired to continue with the environmental work they had begun with Leigh, and the Trust developed from there.
The Te Whangai Trust operates native plant nurseries and associated planting operations, whilst providing skills and experience to long-term unemployed through a partnership with the Ministry of Social Development.
With projected production for 2017 at 600,000 plants, the “eco-preneurial” Trust now employs 25 people across four training platforms spread across North Waikato, South Auckland and Auckland.
Gary says, “We’re different from other entrants in these awards, which makes us hard to judge alongside the other farms. But it’s huge encouragement for what we do, and that’s worth a million dollars.
“Everything we do is against the norm, and we get more knock backs than knocks forward, so simple encouragement is huge for us.”
Entries for the 2018 Auckland Ballance Farm Environment Awards close on 31 October 2017. All farmers and horticulturists, including orchardists, vegetable growers and viticulturists, within the geographic area of Auckland Council are eligible to enter. Visit www.bfea.org.nz for more details.