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Mistletoe Bay Trust was named Supreme Winner at this year’s Trustpower National Community Awards for its Mistletoe Bay Eco Village and Campground in the Marlborough Sounds.

DOC Ranger Wendy Sullivan writes…

The gorgeous Mistletoe Bay.

The gorgeous Mistletoe Bay

Mistletoe Bay Trust is a not-for-profit charitable organisation formed in 2003 when DOC was looking at options for the ongoing management of Mistletoe Bay Reserve and Campground.

After negotiating a Control and Management Agreement (CMA) with DOC, the Trust went on to create a sustainable Eco Village facility.

Outward Bound volunteers improving the road.

Outward Bound volunteers improving the road

The volunteer organisation makes the most of its native bush setting to give visitors—particularly children—a hands-on experience of living sustainably, with energy-efficient cabins, recycling, water collection and on-site sewage treatment.

Their education programme is particularly inspiring. The Mistletoe experience includes a sustainability tour, sailing, kayaking, fishing, tramping, camping, beach/stream/pond study, native planting, maintaining vegetable gardens (for their Eat-Fit Programmes) and enjoying the native bush and bay.

An ideal venue for leadership skill building.

An ideal venue for leadership skill building

The income from general visitors, including wedding parties and conferences, helps pays for school groups to the Bay.

80% of the time Mistletoe is for kids, and the other 20% enables that.

Students learning new outdoor skills.

Students learning new outdoor skills

At the National Community Awards, each organisation gives an eight minute presentation on their group or activity along with a 1,000 word summary.

The groups are judged by their peers, with peer judging making up 50% of the final score and the other 50% coming from an independent judging panel.

The efforts of the Trust over the last 10 years were judged as “outstanding”, “inspirational”, “mind blowing”, “a model of sustainability and environmental education to be duplicated around the country”.

Simon Heath, Chair of the Trust.

Simon Heath, Chair of the Trust

You may be able to feel the passion from this group from reading the extract of an email that Simon Heath (Chair of the Trust) sent around on the Monday following the award ceremony…

“There is no doubt, through our collective energy, efforts and vision, we have done something very special for Marlborough and New Zealand. I just wish we could have all been together with our partners (who are a huge part of what we have done and do) to step onto that stage and feel that pride and humility that comes with receiving such a prestigious award…”

The NZ Army built the Mistletoe conference room.

The NZ Army built the Mistletoe conference room

As Trustpower National Community Award Supreme Winner, Mistletoe Bay Trust received a trophy, a framed certificate, $2,500 prize money, a $500 voucher from Exult, a leading specialist training provider for the not-for-profit sector, and the increased profile and recognition that comes with this national success.

So, if you are looking for somewhere to get married, hold a team bonding session or conference, or just enjoy a great camping spot, check out Mistletoe Bay—but book early!

By Claudia Babirat, Outreach and Education Coordinator

A clever rap that explores the life-cycle of water, was announced as the Department of Conservation ‘Big Picture Award’ winner at the Outlook for Someday Awards red-carpet ceremony at the Aotea Centre in Auckland last month.

I’m a Little Molecule of H2O, directed by 23-year-old teacher Paascalino Schaller and his Avalon Intermediate School music students, impressed the judges with its clever and relevant lyrics, cinematography and message—highlighting the fact that we are connected to each other and the rest of the planet through water.

DOC's Markerita Poutasi and director Andrew Adamson present the DOC Big Picture Award to Paascalino Schaller and one of his music students

DOC’s Markerita Poutasi and director Andrew Adamson present the DOC Big Picture Award to Paascalino Schaller and Estere Dalton

“The kids and I were doing water studies, looking at water as a precious taonga, using resources from the council—it was all curriculum linked,” said Pascaalino.

“We also knew the Outlook for Someday film challenge was coming up.”

So they combined a love for music and film making with what they were studying, and made a rap video.

“We wanted to tell the story of water, but in a different way and from a new perspective. Working with kids definitely inspires me—they’re so free, there are no restrictions on how they think.”

A star-studded audience celebrate the Outlook for Someday award winners.

A star-studded audience celebrate the Outlook for Someday award winners

I’m a Little Molecule of H2O was one of 20 award-winning films.

All the winning film-makers were presented with their awards by Andrew Adamson, a Kiwi director who has been at the helm of a string of blockbuster films including Shrek and the first two of the Chronicles of Narnia series, as well as an adaptation of Lloyd Jones’ Mr Pip.

Each film was also in the running to be ‘Element Audience Favourite’. A record 1500 people voted in the online poll, which was also won by I’m A Little Molecule of H2O.

153 entries came from all over New Zealand, and nine of the winning films this year came from the South Island, which is more than in any of the previous six years of the film challenge.

Upokongaro Film-making Club accept their award from Outlook Ambassadors Tandi Wright and Jared Turner.

The Upokongaro Primary School film class accept the teamwork award from Outlook Ambassadors Wendy Douglas, Tandi Wright, Jared Turner and Lanita Ririnui-Ryan. Their film highlighted the impact pollution has upon the Whanganui river

Other winning entries covered shark finning, palm oil, water quality, climate change, fair trade, drug addiction, community reuse of resources, and a great film about endangered sea lions that was supported by DOC ranger Ros Cole.

The producers of the musical 'Today is the Day' at the awards ceremony.

The team from Hillcrest High School, with their musical comedy ‘Today is the Day’, were the overall winners of the Someday Awards

Now in its seventh year, The Outlook for Someday is a sustainability film project for young people, and one of DOC’s major national education partnerships.

The project asks young people aged up to 24 to make a short sustainability-related film of any genre, filmed with any camera and any length up to five minutes. It includes a national series of sustainability film-making workshops. 1063 young people participated in the film challenge and workshops in 2013.

All the winning films are available to be viewed on the Outlook for Someday website.

17-year-old student, Natasha Bishop—winner of the 2012 DOC Big Picture Award in The Outlook for Someday sustainability film challengetells us about her big win at the prestigious Japan Wildlife Film Festival on Sunday.  

It was unexpected enough being nominated for the Japan Wildlife Film Festival (JWFF). It was even more unexpected to have received not just one, but TWO awards!

I was given the Best Animation award, as well as the Newcomer award for being an inexperienced filmmaker.

I’m incredibly happy, however I’m also very sad that the film festival is over. During my time here I have been able to meet amazing people, experience traditional and modern Japanese culture, and watch inspiring and beautiful films from around the world. I’ll be bringing home not only my awards, but also a new enlightenment that I’ve been incredibly privileged to experience at my age.

Natasha in Japan.

Experiencing Japan

The Grand Award of the festival was awarded to Grant Muir, a Wairarapa resident. He is the star of the film River Dog, the one other New Zealand film to be nominated for JWFF.

Grant Muir and Natasha Bishop at the Japan Wildlife Film Festival.

Grant Muir and Natasha Bishop at the Japan Wildlife Film Festival

During the festival I ran three seminars. I talked about my own personal background, my involvement with the environment, as well as digital media. David Jacobs and I also talked about New Zealand’s connection with nature, DOC, and The Outlook for Someday.

The organisers of JWFF have been immensely supportive of me during my stay in Japan, and I’d like to thank them for their hospitality and kindness. David Jacobs, who accompanied me, and the rest of Connected Media have also been really vital in making this happen. I’ve been able to make connections with some wonderful filmmakers and environmentalists, which I intend to strengthen!

Left: Kohta Asamidori, the lovely Public Relations Manager for JWFF. Right: Natasha with Hiroe Makiyama, upper house member of the National Diet  of Japan.

Left: Kohta Asamidori, the lovely Public Relations Manager for JWFF
Right: Natasha with Hiroe Makiyama, upper house member of the National Diet of Japan

I’m flying home soon and I will definitely miss Japan! Since it’s the school term right now, I can’t stay very long. But being here has inspired me to learn Japanese, so that I can come back someday and see more of the sights. It’s also inspired me to pursue a career in film and sustainability.

Among the people I’d like to acknowledge is Air New Zealand for sponsoring my flight, we visited their office in Tokyo and gave them a personal thank you. Also to the New Zealand Embassy in Tokyo, the staff there were lovely! And of course, thanks to the Department of Conservation for supporting me from the very beginning. Receiving this JWFF award is the biggest up on the figurative roller coaster that I’ve been on!

Related links

Today, I’m inviting you somewhere special. Not many people know about this place yet – you’re one of the first. The place is called Wildside and it’s a new social media community run by the Department of Conservation (DOC) on Facebook and Twitter.

Wildside Facebook screenshot.

With the tagline Aotearoa New Zealand. Live it. Love it. Look after it. Together. Wildside promises inspiring stories, images, videos and conversations about:

Living on the wildside – tramping, camping, biking, hunting…

Loving the wildside – our places, plants, animals, people…

Looking after the wildside – protecting, restoring… doing our bit.

And, importantly, Wildside is about doing it together.

We didn’t want another place on the web about ‘DOC the government department’. Wildside is for, and about, everyone.

Wildside Twitter screenshot.

Here at DOC we’re working towards making New Zealand the greatest living space on Earth – but this vision isn’t just ours, and we can’t do it alone. We want you to join the journey – and Wildside will be a great place to start. Will you join us?

Natasha Bishop, winner of last year’s Outlook for Someday sustainability film challenge, and David Jacobs, from The Outlook for Someday, tell us about Arboraceous, the power of storytelling, and the latest exciting development that sees them heading to Japan next month.

David and Natasha at last year's Someday Awards.

David and Natasha at last year’s Someday Awards


Arboraceous winning the DOC Big Picture Award and being chosen as The Body Shop Standout Winner in The Outlook for Someday last year came as a genuine surprise for me! It was great receiving a lot of positive feedback on my animation, and getting the honour of presenting it at DOC’s end-of-year event at their head office.

Making Arboraceous was an opportunity to send a clear message about sustainability through storytelling, which is what The Outlook for Someday film challenge is all about.

Screen shot from the film Arboraceous. Shows man sitting under an apple tree.

Arboraceous: Sustainability through storytelling


Yes that’s exactly what The Outlook for Someday is about. People have always told stories about what’s going on for them – it’s a fundamental part of what it is to be human. These days we don’t tell our stories with pictures on stone cave walls – we have moving images and sound and a global cave wall called the Internet. And what’s going on for us more than anything these days is the question of how we can sustain ourselves and our planet.

So with The Outlook for Someday we aim to help grow a generation of sustainability storytellers. That’s Natasha’s generation – and films like Arboraceous make my job very satisfying. With the film she conveys a profound truth with sweet simplicity.


The moral of Arboraceous is about renewing what we already have on our earth, instead of going off and trying to find a new planet. In making the film I set myself clear boundaries – I wanted to tell an in-depth story without using dialogue or text. So I told my story using colour, expression and symbols.

Illustration of rocket taking off.

There’s only one planet Earth


And in a simple, compelling way the film gets across the absolute key to sustainability as I see it. That we are all connected – to nature and to each other.

Illustration showing a round earth with houses and people around its circumference.

We are all connected – to nature and to each other


I guess that’s why the Department of Conservation has been really supportive and enthusiastic about my animation from the start.

And since The Outlook for Someday win, Arboraceous has been nominated for the Japan Wildlife Film Festival in August this year. As the youngest film-maker to have a film nominated in the JWFF’s 20 years of running, this is a big experience for me! I’m really thankful for all of DOC’s support, and to Air New Zealand for sponsoring my flight to Japan.


Yes big partnery thanks DOC and also to Air New Zealand for Natasha’s flight. I’m really proud of what Natasha has achieved. And I’m excited to be going to Japan to support her and to represent New Zealand as a nation with an emerging generation of young people who tell stunning sustainability stories.

Watch Arboraceous

Arboraceous from The Outlook for Someday on Vimeo.

Follow the journey to Japan on Twitter:

– The Outlook for Someday @tofsfilm

– Natasha Bishop @Maki_Tak

– #Arboraceous

The Department of Conservation is a partner of The Outlook for Someday sustainability film challenge for young people and also sponsors the Big Picture Award. Read about past winners and learn how to enter the 2013 challenge on the DOC website. The 2013 entry deadline is 13 September.

When Ranginui, the sky father, and Papatuanuku, the Earth mother, were separated by their children, the God of the winds—Tawhirimatea—became so angry that he tore out his eyes and threw them into the heavens.

For Māori, the rising of these stars (called Matariki – ‘the eyes of God’), is celebrated by giving gratitude to Papatūānuku, practicing whakawhanaungatanga (establishing relationships and relating well to others) and valuing manaakitanga (hospitality and kindness).

Matariki in the night sky. Image courtesy of pbkwee,

Matariki in the night sky

Known as the Māori New Year, Matariki is also a time to give respect to the unique land we live on; a time of growth, to plant new trees and crops; to gather with whānau and friends and to reflect on what has been and what is yet to come. A time of new beginnings.

Traditionally, the success of the following season’s crops would be determined by Matariki. The brighter the stars, the warmer the season and the more plentiful the crops would be.

The flying of kites at a Matariki celebration. Photo: Chris Gin | CC BY NC-ND 2.0.

The flying of kites at a Matariki celebration. Photo: Chris Gin | CC BY NC-ND 2.0.

In days gone by, Māori used the concept of manaaki (care) of the natural resources to survive,” says DOC’s Kaihautu – Te Putahitanga (Manager – Strategic Partnerships) Joe Harawira.

“For Māori, sustainability of resources was crucial to our survival. Our people had to adapt to the sometimes harsh and inhospitable conditions that were encountered upon arrival to Aotearoa. This was the time where they learned how to live, to breathe, to know and to understand how to live with the environment; how to co-exist. They wore the mantle of the land with dignity and respect, hearkened to the ways of nature, appreciated the elements, and speculated the cosmos. Therefore, the environment and its care are at the forefront of the celebrations around Matariki”.

To get in on the action and celebrate this time of new beginnings, bring friends and family along to one of the many events around the country. Eventfinder has a good list to choose from, and the Matariki Festival website has ideas for how you can celebrate from home—recipes, craft ideas, competitions and more.

Planting of trees. Image courtesy of Sandra Burles, DOC.

Matariki is a time to plant new trees and crops

Star gazing

Matariki is the group of stars also known as the Pleiades star cluster or The Seven Sisters. The pre-dawn rise of Matariki can be seen in the last few days of May, with the New Year marked by the sighting of the next new moon that occurs during June. This year it will occur on 23 June. This also happens to be a super moon, so it will be at its closest point to the Earth (known as a lunar perigee), shining brighter and larger than usual.

So, set the alarm for around 5.30 am, wrap up warmly and drag yourself outside. The best time to see Matariki is about half an hour before dawn.

1. Find the pot (the bottom three stars of the pot are called tautoru, or Orion’s Belt).

2. To the left of the pot, find the bright orange star, Taumata-kuku (Alderbaran).

3. Keep going left from Taumata-kuku until you find a cluster of stars. That is Matariki. You may be able to see the individual stars among the cluster, but if it’s a bit fuzzy, look just below or above it and they will appear clearer.

4. Get comfy and spend a few moments reflecting on the year that was and the year to come.

Matariki signals change—preparation and making plans to take action. We appreciate our whenua and celebrate the diversity of life. We learn about who came before us, our history and our heritage. Not only do we acknowledge what we have, we acknowledge what we have to give.

Pre-dawn sky. Image courtesy of irkstyle,

The best time to see Matariki is about half an hour before dawn.