Andy Stewart of the NZUA Board presented the award:
"Tonight’s recipients demonstrate that way of working in what they do, and I think is inspirational, by bringing together different stakeholders of our aquatic environment to really make a difference in a very real way.
This years' recipients formed a not-for-profit organisation and, in doing so, bring together scuba divers, free divers, scientists, photographers, supporters and families to work on their common mission.
This mission is to actively promote environmental awareness and conservation by the pro-active removal of rubbish and debris from the sea floor and coastline.
We saw this morning what a great job they are doing removing so much rubbish from our ocean - the scale of what is coming out of Wellington Harbour is incredible.
But they do it in such a way that they share their story, involving a wide cross-section of people, bringing awareness and publicity to the behaviors that are causing the problems.
And they are making a real impact. They have evidence that individuals and organizations are making changes to minimse their impact on our oceans, such as the locks on the shopping trolleys and the change in disposable coffee cups.
On behalf of the board and from all NZUA members like to thank tonight’s recipients for all the many many weeks/months of effort you have put into the organization you founded in 2015.
Congratulations to Rob Wilson & Serena Cox – from Ghost Fishing NZ!"
Some shared their congratulations on Facebook:
"So well chosen and very much deserved, Rob Wilson. You uphold the adventurous spirit of the trophy donor, who was a pioneer diver of huge courage and originality, with a great sense of humour - along with others of his family, brother Clarry and daughter Joan: Leo Ducker. A very dear trio to me." - Wade Doak (life member)
"Well deserved!" - Jeroen Jongejans (life member)
"Well done to all of you, need lots more of you on the planet." - Darren Shields (Wettie)
"Great work gets great rewards. Lovely to see this award going to such selfless people." Pete Mesley
"Hello Rob and the team. This really is the ultimate Kiwi diving award and you guys are extremely deserving recipients. I think the trophy is just super cool! Well done." Simon Mitchell