Tamahere eco-warrior Leo Koppens is up for the Volunteer of the Year Award in this year’s Volunteer Excellence Awards.
Volunteering Waikato’s annual awards recognise the effort and impact on their communities of an army of people who give of their time freely and without payment.
Koppens, who began restoring the Tamahere Reserve four years ago, was nominated by his fellow members on the Tamahere Mangaone Restoration Trust.
Announcing the nomination, Volunteering Waikato said Koppens had “an amazing ability to suss out opportunities, negotiate terms that benefit the community and find alternative ways to do things.
“He has inspired many others to support the Tamahere Reserve and Allan Turner Walkway projects.”
Surprised by the announcement Koppens said he was very touched by the nomination.
“It’s a team effort, which I’m happy to have started,” he said. “It’s very humbling that my mates on the trust have thought to nominate me for this.”
The awards are in three categories – teams, youth and volunteer of the year – and range over teams such as Dress for Success’s volunteer stylists and KaiVolution workers who redistribute food that would otherwise go to waste, inspiring young people active in their communities, and individuals working in such diverse ways as Red Cross disaster relief, conservation, cancer patient support and op shop staffing.
The award winners will be announced at an evening ceremony on June 24.