Members of the ESAI board and Tinaku team and their partners attended the Selwyn Awards held in Rolleston on Saturday the 5th of August. The event is held every other year to recognise businesses, not for profits and individuals doing great things in the Selwyn Community. Over 600 people attended the gala event which was hosted by Hilary Barry. It was a great opportunity for those from ESAI to get together and celebrate all that has been achieved in three years with the funding from MPI.
There were 11 categories for the awards this year and Ellesmere Sustainable Agriculture Inc was delighted to be awarded overall winner in the Environment & Sustainability category. The Tinaku Project and the Tinaku Extension Project recently came to a conclusion as the initial funding period ended. It was a huge honour winning the top prize and to be recognised for all the effort that has gone into the projects and the great outcomes that have been accomplished.
Following on from the success of the awards it was nice to see a good turnout for the ESAI Annual General Meeting that was held on Tuesday the 8th of August at the Lakeside Hall.
Tim Chamberlain announced at the meeting that after four years he would be stepping down as Chairman. While he is still keen to stay on the board and be involved in the group he wants to slow down and spend some more time on his boat. Nigel Greenwood was nominated and accepted the Chairman position and now sits as head of the committee.
Stuart McPherson is now Vice Chairman, Craig Croft remains Secretary and David Birkett Treasurer. Valerie McMillan, Grant Everest and Jo Benny will be joining Hillary Cross and Alison Inwood on the board.
Craig Croft gave a brief summary of the work that has recently been done by the board and members on strategic planning which will help give focus and clarity on what ESAI would like to achieve over the next few years.
David Hewson, the Tinaku Project Manager, gave a review of water quality testing that has been carried out over the last three years as well as touching on what the new project will look like thanks to new funding from the MPI Integrated Farm Planning Accelerator Fund.
Clint Rissmann from Land and Water Science presented to the AGM on physiographic zones and how they help to better understand how contaminants move through the landscape. Their expertise is about integrating landscape process knowledge with water chemistry to understand how and why surface water quality varies across New Zealand. This information could prove very valuable to farmers in the area, helping them to recognise what areas on their farms and within the catchment are more prone to nutrient leaching and ways to mitigate problem areas.
Clint and Andrew Boyce, also of Land and Water Science, held a field trip the following day to take a more in depth look at the different physiographic landscapes in the area and the impacts that soils and geology have on nutrient movement. The field trip was attended by 10 or so farmers and board members that visited four sites across the region to learn and understand more about just what is happening to the water underground and what measures can be taken to further reduce nutrient loads on our rivers and streams.