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Wellington Community Awards Chinese Centree Wins

Wellington Chinese Sports and Cultural Centre Wins Top Honours At Wellington Community Awards

Efforts to involve the entire Wellington Community in Chinese New Year Celebrations have resulted in the Wellington Chinese Sports and Cultural Centre taking out top honours in the 2003 TrustPower Wellington City Community Awards.

The TrustPower Awards, run in 20 regions in partnership with local councils, are designed to recognise the efforts achievements of voluntary organisations.

A total of 15 organisations are recognised in the 2003 Wellington City Community Awards, with winners and runners-up in five categories, plus three commendations, which reflect the difficulties judges faced separating a large number of very high quality nominations.

As overall winner, the Wellington Chinese Sport and Cultural Centre receives a cheque for $1,500, a framed certificate, a trophy which is held for one year, and automatic all expenses paid entry into the TrustPower National Community Awards, to be next held in Marlborough in March 2004.

Note: Wellington City Mayor Kerry Prendergast and TrustPower Community Relations Manager Graeme Purches are presenting the 2003 TrustPower Wellington City Community Awards at a ceremony at the Wellington Council Chambers at 5.30pm, Tuesday 30 September, 2003.

The following is a summary of all 2003 Wellington Community Award recipients.

TRUSTPOWER WELLINGTON CITY COMMUNITY AWARDS 2003

RECIPIENT SUMMARY

CATEGORY A HERITAGE & ENVIRONMENT

RUNNER UP: FRIENDS OF WELLINGTON'S BOTANIC GARDENS

During the last 12 months, the Friends of Wellington's Botanic Gardens commissioned two members to carry out a Botanical Survey of the area's indigenous forest. First surveyed and documented in 1875, state of local indigenous forest was of significant historical and ecological importance to the Society. Only 1% of Wellington's original forest remains, and the survey report will be extremely helpful in planning the future management of the historic forest to ensure its continued survival. The Friends of the Botanic Gardens also applied to register the Garden with the Historic Places Trust, to strengthen the status of the Garden as an important historic site locally and nationally.

The Friend's twenty-five volunteer guides are actively involved in promoting local public awareness of the history of the Botanic Garden, as well as to independent travellers and some of the more than 16,000 visitors brought to the region over summer as part of the cruise ship trade. The guides also act as hosts to summer garden visitors, greeting them at the Cable Car entrance and in the Rose Garden, explaining the Garden's history and features, advising suitable routes for varying levels of fitness, and taking them on short-guided tours. They have conducted 20 tour groups, taken visitors on 14 specialist walks, discussed topics such as the appointment of the first Manager Sir James Hector, pointed out the significance of the Pinus Radiata trees that were part of early plant trials in period 1870-1885, and explained how the natural landscape of the Garden has been reconstructed during the last 130 years. Visitors have also been taken on night tours to look at glow-worms, on tours of the Heritage Roses in Bolton Street Memorial Park, and on guided visits around the Garden at Sir Truby King House as part of the House's Open Day. In addition, the committee has organised other events in support of the Garden, such as a full day seminar on organic gardening.

In total, the guides have spent 1,173 hours in the last year supporting the Botanic Gardens, not including time spent at home researching material for specialist topic walks.

CATEGORY A HERITAGE & ENVIRONMENT

WINNER: WELLINGTON SCULPTURE TRUST

The Lambton Quay Sculpture Project was a major undertaking for the 9 volunteer trustees and three person artistic advisory panel of the Wellington Sculpture Trust. The project took 2 years of preliminary work that included a national competition and selection, and the raising $300,000, all of which culminated in the placing of four high quality sculptures rich in creative ideas from New Zealand's top flight artists. The sculptures Protoplasm, Spinning Top, Shells and Invisible City stretch peoples ideas, stimulate further creative thinking and are situated on key sites on or near Lambton Quay.

Volunteers of the Wellington Sculpture Trust were involved in: · Administration · Negotiation and liaison with artists and their agents · Negotiation and liaison with the Wellington City Council which funded the national competition and provided the sites · Liasing with sponsors, donors and the media · Overseeing the installation process · Organising plaques and launch functions · Ensuring the project was run efficiently and effectively as measured by the installation of the four sculptures to a specified standard within budget and to a timeline that was acceptable to sponsors.

The sculptures have enriched the urban environment and prompted much interest and discussion amongst shoppers, tourists and many others from within the region and beyond. There has also been a noticeable increase in interest in pubic art, newspaper coverage has increased through articles and letters, there is an increased demand for Trust representatives to speak with community groups about public art, and there have been a steady stream of enquiries as to "what will the Trust do next?"

CATEGORY B HEALTH & WELL-BEING

RUNNER UP: SAMARITANS OF WELLINGTON INC.

The Samaritans of Wellington service currently has 110 volunteers, including 10 directors who are responsible for the daily running of the Centre and the guidance and support of fellow Samaritans. In addition there are 100 Friends of the Samaritans, well-wishers who pay a yearly subscription and receive newsletters and invitations to the Centre's AGM and other social functions.

Samaritans of Wellington receives an average of 20,000 calls a year, many of these during the night and at the weekend, and during the past 12 months, its volunteers have worked 26,000 hours to provide this essential service - especially at holiday time, a period that tends to aggravate loneliness and despair. Alarmed at the shocking rise in suicides amongst youth, the service has implemented an outreach programme at schools, where speakers address groups, classes and assemblies, with the aim of enabling students to be supportive of their peers in crisis, and make them aware of the help Samaritans can offer if they have no one else to turn to. The response from youth has been great - they have listened carefully, asked thoughtful questions, and primary school children in particular have often provided welcome feedback in the form of letters, poems, songs or pictures.

All of those involved with Samaritan's of Wellington believe that by addressing people's needs at the time of contact, they are able to unburden those people's fears, helping relieve their feelings of isolation and depression, and assisting them to regain some sort of balance in their lives.

CATEGORY B HEALTH & WELL-BEING

WINNER: VOLUNTEER WELLINGTON

Volunteer Wellington provides the essential workforce needed to maintain and sustain the work of more than 300 community based agencies in the greater Wellington region, offering consultancy services and training in the management of volunteers that enhance the experience for both the organisation and the volunteer.

Over the past 12 months a key activity for Volunteer Wellington has been to increase promotion of its services across all sectors of the community. This has led to and increase in interviews of potential volunteers and the subsequent increased referrals to the community organisations of Wellington had in turn lead to and increase of 60% in the number of volunteers available in several targeted sectors. One of the most significant target fields has been new immigrants, and ff the approximately 1400 potential volunteers who went through Volunteer Wellington's doors last year, almost 30 per cent were new migrants. Through volunteering they have been able to achieve work experience and greater knowledge of the community, while the organisations with whom they have worked have benefited through contribution of their skills, energy, motivation and cross-cultural experience. This has in turn let to more paid employment opportunities, thereby enhancing every aspect of community life.

As part of its strategic approach to the voluntary sector, new ways to train, recruit, educate and lobby have been included in the Volunteer Centre's services. This training and advocacy has been part of a new dialogue with member community organisations, and the results have had a significant impact on the wider community.

Volunteer Wellington's development of training processes during the past 12 months has led to an effective, fluid and multi-cultural volunteer interviewing team. Their services are now also promoted to tertiary students, a cross section of Wellington's ethnic groups, and young people with limited qualifications. This involvement has resulted in increased confidence and the learning of new skills by people who subsequently who become actively involved with and play a much greater role in their community.

CATEGORY C ARTS & CULTURE

RUNNER UP: WELLINGTON FILM SOCIETY

Over the past several year's membership of the Wellington Film Society had been steadily declining, to the point where the continued viability of this Wellington institution was in doubt. The aim of the 24 volunteer committee members the past year was to turn this situation around, and this has been achieved, with membership numbers for 2003 the highest for nearly a decade at 510. Even more significantly, that membership now encompasses a wider age range that before, with a noticeable increase in younger members.

Attendances have also increased dramatically, to the point where they are now on average double those from the previous year, with the theatre being well filled at each screening. This turnaround is largely due to a change of screening venue, where thanks to the generosity of the new management of the Paramount Cinema, screenings have been moved from the previous venue to the Paramount's central city location. This new relationship allows the Wellington Film Society to screen their movies free on Monday, a traditionally slow night for cinemas, in return for the increased visibility and increased snack bar patronage that this brings to the Paramount.

Working with the Goethe Institute, the British Council and the NZ Film Commission, a wide variety of films are now brought to members, including an extremely popular season of rarely seen Cassavetes films and films by Spanish Director Pedro Almodovar. Films are screened from all around the world, as far a field as Iran, China and Russia, encouraging understanding and acceptance of other cultures. With an average showing around 30-35 films a year, and with a standard membership cost of $70, this equates to around $2 a film.

The Wellington film society also supported the 32nd Wellington film Festival, with committee members contributing to the Festival's success by manning a busy information desk at both venues, selling programmes, t-shirts and posters, and assisting with ushering and cinema cleaning to help ensure a positive audience experience at all screenings.

CATEGORY C ARTS & CULTURE

WINNER: WELLINGTON CHINESE SPORTS & CULTURAL CENTRE CHINESE NEW YEAR FESTIVAL 2003

The basic aims of the Wellington Chinese Sports & Cultural Centre are to foster and preserve interest in the Chinese cultural heritage, especially amongst the community's younger generation, and at the same time cater for the community's social, cultural and sporting needs. With a total membership of 800 families, the Chinese New Year Festival involved 230 volunteers.

Chinese New Year is never on the same day. It is all to do with the moon, a time when farmers gave thanks for the harvest and pray to the gods for good harvest in the following year. It officially commences on February 1st for a two-week duration, has been celebrated for 3,000 years, and is one of the world's largest festivals. Last year, the second year of the Wellington Festival, was more successful than 2002, attracting an estimated crowd of 20,000 to the parade and entertainment. School, kindergarten and crèche education packs distributed prior to the Festival included information and a guide to activities to celebrate Chinese New Year, resulting in schools throughout the region taking the Festival on board. All the main Chinese community groups fully embraced the celebration and joined together to provide the cultural entertainment, while the print media ran lead up articles and coverage of the event itself, and TV3 screened the festival on the 6pm news with TVNZ screening it on the first 2003 edition of Asia Down Under.

Starting in Courtney Place at 3.00pm, the parade travelled through the Chinese quarter of Wellington led by a traditional dragon, with crowds lining the entire route and many joining on behind before it ended in Frank Kitts Park. The park was packed from 3.30pm where people enjoyed firecrackers, used to frighten away ghosts so the New Year can start free of them. In addition there were cultural performances from various groups and varying ages from within the Chinese community, a selection of restaurants provided a Chinese New Year banquet, and there were dragon dances. These dances are associated with long life, good fortune and rain - the longer the dragon, the more good it will bring to the community so that the aim is to have as many people carrying the dragon's tail as possible. There was also a lion dance, a traditional folk sport in which groups of players dress up and tour the village. The lion dance is believed to bring good fortune, even though real lions are not found in China

The Festival provided the people of Wellington with an understanding of the Chinese culture. It gave them free vibrant cultural entertainment that is unique within New Zealand, and provided an opportunity for all the different Chinese community groups to come together to celebrate the most important Festival in the Chinese calendar.

CATEGORY D SPORT & LEISURE

RUNNER UP: NEWLANDS SOFTBALL CLUB

The Newlands Softball club undertook to not only provide softball to as many as possible initially within the Newlands Johnsonville communities, but also to anyone from within the Wellington area. With a current membership of 500, Newlands Softball has 15 junior and 14 senior teams, aided by numerous parents who volunteer their services as coaches, managers and official team scorers.

Each team is supplied with full uniform and gear bags that cater for their specific grade requirements, which for senior teams has a value of approximately $2500. This is achieved through the efforts of strong committee members for both divisions who believe "you have to look good to play good". In facts some members are also coaches and managers as well.

Newlands Softball Club differs form many other sporting groups in that it holds a junior clubroom on Saturday, morning where all teams return after games and receive speeches, scores and player of the day awards. In addition the club provides a kitchen facility where cakes, hot chips, tea and coffee are available to all members, thereby fostering a sense of community belonging. The Club also tries to elevate those fortunate to have the ability to play well to the highest representative level achievable. In doing so it accepts some of the financial costs associated with this success, as not all families have the funds available and the club considers part of its duty is to ensure that the path up the sporting ladder is well organised. The Club not only has a presence in the representative arena, but also at local colleges and schools, and is supports with voluntary help the Wellington softball round robin and finals weekends of the National Franchise League.

CATEGORY D SPORT & LEISURE

WINNER: MAKARA PEAK MOUNTAIN BIKE PARK SUPPORTERS (INC.)

The mission of the Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park Supporters was to create a world class mountain bike park, with dual use biking and walking tracks, for all levels of rider, in a restored native forest. Between 12 and 25 volunteers attend fortnightly work parties, developing and maintaining the park that has become increasingly popular with an estimated 100,000 visitors each year. A 2002 survey showed that 8% of Wellingtonians have used the park at least once.

2003 saw the Supporters of Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park celebrating 5 years since volunteers began creating the park out of a rundown gorse-covered farm. Since that time 16,000 trees have been planted, 15 kilometres of track has built, and 100 bait stations have been maintained to protect the trees from the ravages of possums. A "dry feet" entrance into the park was created for novice riders, with the Koru track designed and built as a gentle climb. Using an existing bridge upstream from the ford, a new track with a gentle slope was built through a stand of pine trees, then looping down in a gentle yet exhilarating path to join Koru on the other side of the ford.

In the past year supporters have built three tracks totalling 2 kilometres, and planted 3,800 natives, exceeding their goal of planting a tree for every metre of track built. The track has proven very popular and has encouraged a greater number of young and novice riders to venture into the park to enjoy its thrills and scenic views while at the same time gaining fitness and mountain biking skills.

CATEGORY E EDUCATIONAL & CHILD YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

RUNNER UP: NEWTON PACIFICA PLAYGROUP

The women of Newton Pacifica saw a need to better cater for pre-schoolers in the City Council Flats, and especially the Pacific Island Children in the Te Ara Hou Flats. Newton Pacifica Playgroup is a free early childhood education group established for a group of 12-14 families, with one volunteer supervisor and 8 helpers who welcome children from any ethnic background. All parents who live in the Te Ara Hou flats are encouraged to use these services as a stepping-stone to school.

The past year was a successful and enjoyable time for the children and parents, who shared songs and cultural activities from Iraq, Somalia, NZ Maori, Samoa, Cook Islands and European. The children who attended the programme became more confident, and it gave them and their parents the opportunity to build self-esteem when they moved on to other education centres. The volunteers driving Newton Pacifica Playgroup feel they are bridging the gap for early childhood education and for families who are not in the position of financing this education for their children. This group has also instigated an after school homework study group, music and fitness classes for older students, and ethnic craft classes for mothers, as well as fundraising for the Playground Centre and assisting with the purchase of educational resources.

CATEGORY E EDUCATIONAL & CHILD YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

WINNER: WELLINGTON HINDI SCHOOL

Founded 12 years ago by a group of enthusiastic parents who believed that as a community they could motivate their children to maintain their mother tongue, the Wellington Hindi school has since grown its roll to 37 students, whose Hindi language competency ranges from conversational skills to those who can engage in meaningful conversations. The school, through a core group of 8 volunteers, provides the opportunity for children between 4-13 years to become fluent in conversational Hindi, read and write Hindi and form a positive social and cultural network. It integrates families who have recently immigrated to New Zealand with members of the Hindi speaking community of Wellington, providing networks to assist with successful resettlement.

As the school grew, teachers grouped students according to their competencies and continued to recruit more volunteer teachers to meet their diverse needs. Teachers have been resourceful and have either borrowed or created resources, and tapped the talents of community members. Older and younger members alike have been involved in teaching art, dance and drama. A school holiday workshop was organised for the first time this year to teach "mehndi" a form of body art. A cooking demonstration taught the senior girls how to make "gulab jamun", an Indian sweet, another workshop to teach the art of "rangoli" is planned for the next school holidays. The school has participated in cultural activities organised by local community groups, Asia 2000, the Wellington City Council, and the Ethnic Council as part of its annual multicultural festival.

Parents are rostered to assist teachers, meeting regularly to highlight the need for tangible results. Last year it was agreed that work on the curriculum would begin, in consultation with parents, with the first draft completed in November. A project team of 9 was set up and two workshops were held to identify the curriculum, with the outcome being a five-year teaching programme that will enable students to communicate their own ideas, respond to situations appropriately, and develop confidence. Every effort has been made to align this language curriculum with the mainstream language-teaching curriculum for New Zealand schools. The special features of the Hindi curriculum are: · It provides a thorough description of the content and language-teaching methods · Its Modular approach to learning enables students and parents to see achievements quickly · Teachers have evidence of students efforts thanks to regular term and annual reviews · It incorporates learning strategies that will motivate and maintain students interest · Three teachers are currently attending community language teacher development workshops sponsored by MCLaSS

COMMENDATIONS

LIONS CLUB OF KARORI The Lions Club of Karori initiated and co-ordinated a Lions Wellington District Project to support the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary. In particular, it has worked to develop the Upper Lake Wetlands area through the Club designing, financing and building artificial islands, planting native species of trees, shrubs and grasses, and removing invasive species which populated the area after the upper dam level was lowered. The past 12 months has seen an intensive effort by the Club to consolidate and complete previous work, by financing and building a complex of viewing "hides".

WELLINGTON GAY WELFARE GROUP INC - GAY SWITCHBOARD The 40 volunteer members of the Gay Switchboard operate a 24/7 service, and over the past year have answered 3500 calls from males who are, or think that they might be, gay or bisexual. The group has provided information of gay events, venues and activities in the Wellington Region, and information on safe sex, HIV and AIDS. Support within Wellington in available through Gay Welfare Group Newcomers, Icebreakers and other gay-affirming members, the School's Out and Parents of Gays and Lesbians Programmes, and support is available to males in the "coming out" process. An accommodation service is provided, matching people looking for gay friendly accommodation, and the Group provides referrals to other individuals, organisations and agencies on its database e.g. Gay Doctors, Counsellors etc. This assistance for "at risk" individuals invaluable, with statistics showing that gay male's, and especially young gay males, have some of the highest suicide rates related to the issues that they face.

WELLINGTON SOCTTISH ATHLETIC CLUB For the second time Wellington Scottish Athletic Club has won the prestigious trophy for the most successful club at the National Road Relay Championships, having won the men and women's national team marathon title, the national road championship tile and the cross-country title, and its members have also won many individual titles. In addition, the club also hosts Wellington regional titles for the men's, women's, master's women's and junior men grades for cross country and road, and provided 12 teams at the National Road Relay - twice as many as other clubs.

SHAKESPEARE GLOBE CENTRE N.Z. Shakespeare Globe Centre has had a full year of educational and cultural activities including two mid career actors who after attending a month-long International Artistic Fellowship Scheme in London, returned to share their experiences. Five members were amongst the group who attended the National Shakespeare Schools Production, working with various tutors and directors, and flourishing as they relished the exploration of rhythm, music and dance. In addition, Kapiti College had finalists in the costume and poster design Shakespeare competitions, German Directors ran workshops, courses were held for secondary teachers and young student-directors, 20 students were chosen to go to London and four groups were selected from the Wellington district for the National Sheilah Winn Festivals.

TE WHARE ATAWHAI Te Whare Atawhai is part of the wider Urban Vision community, an interdenominational group of adults and young people working with those in need. Established in 1989, Te Whare Atawhai is a house set up to offer a home and family environment for 13-17 year old young women needing care. Over the past year it has offered hospitality, both short and long term, and provided various levels of support for, at any one time, between 15 and 120 young women. Four experienced live-in trained volunteer workers run the home, which provides a fun and nurturing environment. The women who come into care are supported in many different activities and experiences, and encouraged in their development socially, academically, physically, emotionally and spiritually. "TRUSTPOWER WELLINGTON CITY SUPREME AWARD"

OVERALL WINNER

WELLINGTON CHINESE SPORTS & CULTURE CENTRE CHINESE NEW YEAR FESTIVAL 2003

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