Campaigner's dedication rewarded

Marlborough environmental stalwart Margaret Peace received a district award from the Marlborough District Council last week.

Together with community members, Mrs Peace has spent seven years planting native vegetation along 600 metres of the banks of Blind Creek near Tuamarina.

Mrs Peace, a self-confessed thorn in the side of anti-environmentalism, said she was surprised to be recognised for her work before the council meeting yesterday.

"I must admit I didn't think I'd achieved anything in my 35 years in Marlborough except for a very bad reputation for being a rabid green," she said.

"What I was promoting turned out to be very unpopular and contrary to farming, forestry, horticulture and fishing, so of course everyone in Marlborough was upset at me."

Council environmental committee chairman of Peter Jerram said Mrs Peace had been an inspiration to many.

She was a champion of the environment, even against the tide of popular opinion.

"You always advocated the uniqueness of the environment's ecology and plants and animals, planting what we considered to be weeds," he said.

The council's assets and services committee has agreed to take over the ongoing maintenance of the site, and Mrs Peace hopes they will continue building on her work.

"I've had some heart-breaking battles with council for the first 20 years, but there has been a complete change of attitude over the past 10 to 15 years, and I'm grateful for their co-operation," she said

Even though Mrs Peace, 89, has officially retired, she is not ready to let the council rest easy.

"The waterway itself is an important consideration, and I'm trying to raise myself to make a fuss about that," she said.

The Marlborough Express