Tuesday, April 23, 2024

National recognition for researcher’s environmental efforts

University of Canterbury (UC) Professor Ann Brower has been named winner of Te Apārangi Royal Society 2022 Charles Fleming Award for Environmental Achievement, for the protection of the New Zealand environment.

Professor Brower’s tenacity in putting her research in front of decision-makers has successfully changed laws in Aotearoa New Zealand, the University said in a statement this week.

“Through tough journeys achieving wins for high-country pastoral land and making building facades safer, she’s learnt some valuable lessons about impact, advocacy and choosing her battles,” the University said.

The prestigious award is only granted every three years.

“South Island high-country land reform and quake prone buildings taught me a lot about politics and policy,” says Professor Brower.

“I also learned that the ‘little guy’ can make a difference but only if the ‘little guys’ team up strategically, and play all the cards we’ve got, and play them very, very well.”

Professor Brower dedicated 15 years of research to high-country pastoral tenure after discovering that the Crown was selling lakeside land at a loss. Her work sparked a High Court case, a Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment investigation, and two Cabinet-level national policy changes, eventually resulting in Parliament-level legislative change. She has worked with Cabinet Ministers in several governments, including Ministers from National, Labour, and Greens parties.

At the same time, she was instrumental in the Building Act being amended to prioritise the reinforcing of masonry, parapets and facades following the Christchurch earthquakes, which she advocated for through participating in select committees.

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