Young Environmental Innovators Awards

We recognise that the only sustainable road to building tomorrow’s future is through today’s youth. That’s why we are committed to enabling young South Aucklanders to become custodians of their environment, by equipping them with the knowledge, passion and opportunity to take the lead in caring for their environment, now and into the future.

Our exceptional track record of working with South Auckland schools means we are well placed to deliver innovative environmental education programmes. On the back of our award-winning ‘Eye on Nature’ primary school initiative, we now seek to inspire, recognise and celebrate senior students. We are delighted to introduce our ‘Young Environmental Innovators Awards’ which present an exciting opportunity to unite South Auckland communities, schools, environmental organisations and industry, by igniting an environmental flame of passion in our young people.


YEIA is a one day expo followed by an awards evening with particular focus on the living and built environment.

In 2016 we will run a pilot programme with a small number of secondary schools and local businesses (see a brief timeline overview here).  This will culminate in a one-day expo in August 2016 where schools will compete to find an overall winner. If your organisation would like to participate in the expo you can view more details here.

The 'Sink Or Swim' programme will pave the way for the full YEIA programme in 2017.  On 16 May 2016 we held our first Sink Or Swim workshop - read about it here.

In 2017 we seek a limited number of environmentally conscious organisations to become sponsors for a new series of competitions, one day expo and awards evening.  See an overview of our plans for 2017/18 here.

Please note: The name YEIA will change as a branding competition is currently underway to find out from youth what resonates with their age group.  The new look, feel and name will be announced in April 2016.

View our YEIA 2017 booklet here.


The core focus of the initiative is to bring together environmental disciplines and new innovations to develop youth to become community achievers and leaders who are able to help facilitate a sustainable and safe environment.

Set to become a calendar highlight for everyone involved, this annual event will feature project-based competitions preceding and during the expo.

YEIA is a three-tiered event comprised of:

  • Competitions: opportunities to work directly with South Auckland schools via a series of project based competitions involving environmental-related themes that align with the science curriculum.
  • Environmental expo: a one-day expo to showcase schools and projects/programme innovations industry developments and initiatives and future training opportunities. Seminars held during the expo will provide sponsoring organisations opportunities to highlight latest issues, trends, innovations, equipment and career opportunities.
  • Awards evening: the initiative will culminate in a prestigious black tie event awards evening that recognises and rewards our brightest talent for their exceptional work.

Through our ‘Young Environmental Innovators Awards’, our vision is 'A future where youth protect, enhance and beautify the South Auckland environment through innovative actions that support a sustainable future.'


This is an exciting time for the trust, and we’re keen to involve like-minded industry and organisations in this unique opportunity. 

The Trust is highly regarded in environmental education circles and enjoys excellent working relationships with South Auckland schools and our 30+ national and local environmental partners. Through ‘Young Environmental Innovators Awards’ we offer a platform of knowledge, recognition and networking opportunities for sponsoring partner organisations.

We're asking the business community to get behind us in order to provide a holistic experience for students. Involvement of the business community is critical to ensure South Auckland students are exposed to the commercial aspects of environmental innovation.

Is your organisation seeking?

  • Greater connection with local students?
  • A larger pool of talent for apprenticeship or internship programmes?
  • A way to deliver your brand or industry to hundreds of students weighing up their futures?
  • A means of supporting your ‘employment brand’ within your organisation?


Involvement in our ‘Young Environmental Innovators Awards’ will give your organisation a range of exciting benefits and opportunities, including (but not limited to):

  • Direct access to schools and students
  • Access to future talent pool
  • Ease of access with the Trust as intermediary between your organisation and school
  • Access to innovative, left-field thinking of our youth
  • Potential commercialisation of student innovations
  • Brand exposure
  • Staff mentoring opportunities
  • Enhanced community relations
  • Platform for developing ongoing, meaningful relationships with students and school
  • Industry kudos
  • Increased staff satisfaction opportunities
  • Collaboration and networking opportunities

Sponsorship is limited.  If your organisation is  interested in participating as a sponsor, please contact:
Pam French or call 021 529 556 for further information.

We recognise the need for some flexibility, given that our partnering organisations will have different needs and objectives. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your organisation’s objectives, so we can work with you to adapt our sponsorship packages to best suit your needs.

Sink or Swim Workshop

Thirty students from five schools partnered with four businesses to brainstorm ideas for innovative environmental projects at a ‘Sink Or Swim’ workshop on 16 May 2016 at the Auckland Botanic Gardens.  The aim of the workshops is to encourage creative environmental innovation in youth, whilst encouraging collaboration between youth and business to bring projects to fruition.  

Auckland Botanic Gardens staff teamed with special guest speakers Anne Gibbon from Callahan Innovation and Nick Pattison from Rongomai Primary School in Otara to lead sessions on innovation.  Students looked at both living and built environmental innovation and collaborated on project ideas with their respective business partners. Bridget Glasgow, Secondary School Advisor and Enviroschools Facilitator, also presented at the workshop.

Over winter the school and business partnerships will continue working together on their projects, culminating in an expo and awards ceremony at the Vodafone Events Centre on 2 August.  The school / business partnerships are:

Manurewa High School and Rongomai Primary School / Aeroqual
Sancta Maria College / Fisher & Paykel Healthcare through Futureintech
Aorere College / Opus
Papakura High School / NZ Motor Caravan Association

This year’s Sink or Swim pilot project will grow to a fully-fledged project in 2017.  You can read more about the plans for 2017 here.

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Auckland, New Zealand