In May 2018, The Speight’s Fund awarded more than $15,000 to five environmental initiatives in the Otago region.

The Speight’s Fund was created as a means for Speight’s to contribute to its community of origin, and is particularly focused on groups which demonstrate pride in the Otago area and its environment. We had some excellent entries this year, all with firm, measurable plans.

Congratulations to our five recipients:

Yellow Eyed Penguin Trust – a group committed to creating natural environments where yellow-eyed penguins thrive. They were awarded $4100 from the fund and will carry out remedial work on a section of reserve that was damaged during a slip in July 2017 due to heavy rainfall. The group will erect fencing in the area and carry out a re-planting project.

Quarantine Island/Kamau Raurua – an island ‘community’ consisting of people from all over Dunedin and afar that carry out all sorts of environmental projects. They will use the contribution of $4871 to undertake gradual replanting with native seedlings to increase biodiversity. The judges commented that the efforts to continually restore the island is not only great to the environment, but has strong historical significance and a potential to increase tourism in the area.

Aspiring Biodiversity – awarded $3500 to help survey native birdlife, allowing the group to determine presence and abundance of individual bird species. The strong motivator for the judges here was the group’s ability to educate the public about threatened species of wild life and raise awareness.

Mohiki Trust – awarded $2500 to revegetate the Cromwell Basin with native plants. With an aim to get as many people from the community involved as possible, the judges thought this project was admirable for its approach to involve the community in the preservation of its environment.

Open VUE – awarded $629 and aim to protect and enhance the local environment via pest control, particularly through Otago’s North East Valley. The group has a strong involvement with the areas local schools and the judges commended their enthusiasm to educate the community.

This year’s judging panel included: Professor Carolyn Burns – Otago University’s Department of Zoology; Mayor Dave Cull; Mayor Cull’s PA Monique Elleboode; Stephen Woodhead – Chairperson of the Otago Regional Council; Stuart McLauchlan – Pro Chancellor of the University of Otago; Councilor Gretchen Robertson; Vanessa Van Uden, Kat McDonald – Lion Sustainability Manager and Convener of Judges, Rosie Shanks – Speight’s Brewery Tour Manager.