A Queenstown couple have won the country’s most prestigious and oldest conservation award.
Minister of Conservation Maggie Barry announced in Queenstown last week that Barbara and Neill Simpson have won the Loder Cup.
The couple, who’ve lived in town since 1981, will be presented with the cup in Wellington next June.
The cup, awarded annually to a person or group of people for their outstanding conservation award, was donated in 1926 by Englishman Gerald Loder, who was captivated by New Zealand’s indigenous flora.
The Simpsons’ conservation work has included eradicating wilding pines, maintaining Kelvin Peninsula’s tracks and reserves network, and planting native trees on road reserves, tracks and Lake Wakatipu’s Pig and Pigeon Islands.
Two years ago they established a native plant nursery on Kelvin Peninsula.
Neill was formerly the Department of Conservation’s Queenstown boss and later its Otago botanist.
His many other awards include a Queen’s Service Medal in the last New Year honours list.