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20 mai 2008

"Womad's" Electric car wins TRC award

A man who built his own electric car and Womad's recycling efforts are among winners of Taranaki's Environment Awards.

Seventeen Taranaki businesses, farmers, community groups and individuals have been recognised by the Taranaki Regional Council awards, which were announced yesterday. Among the more eyecatching efforts was one by New Plymouth man Gavin Shoebridge, who has converted a petrol car to run on batteries. His story featured in the Taranaki Daily News in January.

Inglewood High School also won an award for generating its own power through a wind turbine. The 17 honours given out is the highest number since the awards began in 1993. TRC chairman David MacLeod says the awards reflect a special relationship between the people of Taranaki and their environment.
"It was heartening to have a bumper crop of nominations from which we could make so many awards," he says. "Environmental issues are the top of everyone's agenda these days, of course, but I believe these awards also demonstrate something special about Taranaki. We enjoy healthy rivers, a rich landscape, clean air, and a quality coastal environment but this is not simply by good luck."

Mr MacLeod says the level of grassroots community involvement is a positive sign for the future of sustainability in Taranaki. Yesterday, Suzanne Porter, chief executive of the organisation that runs Womad, the Taranaki Arts Festival Trust, said it was great to get the environmental award. She said the waste minimisation they introduced for the three-day festival this year was quite a leap of faith for organisers, but it worked. "It really sets a benchmark for waste minimisation in event management," Ms Porter said.

About 75% of the almost 15 tonnes of waste left at the Womad site was either recycled or composted. Forty volunteers were the public face of the system, as well as sorting rubbish and assisting backstage. Ms Porter said several event management groups outside the region were interested in what they did at Womad. She said it was becoming more common for performers to have "green clauses" in their performance contracts.

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