Wed, Nov 24, 2021 4:00 PM

Eco teen wins local hero medal

16-year-old Sophie Weenink has received a Kiwibank Local Hero medal for her community contributions. Photo: Erin Bradnock.

Erin Bradnock

A local teenage environmentalist was surprised to find out she was one of a hundred medalists for the Kiwibank Local Hero of the Year awards.

At just 16-years-old Sophie has organised beach and river clean ups and raised hundreds of dollars to help feed the homeless with Giving Aroha in Anzac Park.
“This is my first medal that isn’t a Weetbix TRYathlon medal.”

On top of her activism, Sophie is the under-25 representative for the Nelson Tasman Climate Forum, a trustee for Cancer Society Nelson and a youth ambassador for Kōhine Māia, a Sport Tasman initiative to improve girls’ mental health by being active.

“I’m still in that phase that I’m a bit shocked by it. I didn’t know I was even nominated but it’s really nice to have this acknowledgement.”

Sophie has been organising beach cleanups since the age of 13, with up to 250 volunteers.

The only thing that’s slowed her down recently has been a global pandemic. She hopes to get into a career in law or fashion when she leaves school.

“This medal represents all the help I’ve gotten over the years.”