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TrustPower Announces Community Award Winners

TrustPower Announces National Community Award Winners

The TrustPower National Community Award has been won by Palmerston Gateway to Gold, a community organisation from Waihemo, part of Waitaki District in East Otago.

The awards, attended by mayors and representatives of voluntary organisations from 20 regions, were judged and presented on Saturday 13 March, in Blenheim.

Palmerston Gateway to Gold has been credited with, as Waitaki Mayor Alan McLay noted during judging, revitalising a small rural town and community that had gone into decline, and was at risk of dying.

With eight Trustees and 20 volunteers, Palmerston Gateway to Gold has, during the past 12 months, achieved the following:

1. The construction and subsequent maintenance of a lookout over the town of Palmerston

2. Provided workers to construct, clear and plant the town's Ross Park Gardens

3. Constructed the Dunback and Goodwood heritage trails

4. Organised a Tussock Trail Mountain Bike event that was the forerunner for an annual event

5. Created and East Otago CD Rom and website

6. Painted murals for the internal walls of a Butterfly and Bird Haven, which was also a Gateway to Gold project.

7. Identified the need for and progressed the construction of a Skateboard Ramp for Palmerston youth

8. Played a key role with the East Otago Youth Centre, The HUB, a facility that provides youth with computers, games, books, discos, barbeques, sleepovers, and is funded by the youth through various fundraising initiatives.

9. Provided adult computer programme classes

10. Produced a newsletter that is delivered to 1709 households.

11. Liased with the Waitaki District Council and Credit Union to ensure there are banking facilities in the town

Palmerston Gateway to Gold has created employment, increased tourist attractions, improved and tidied the environment, revitalised the spirit of residents, and promoted the East Otago district though its web site.

Runner-up in the awards was the Cambridge Christmas Festival. With some 75 volunteer members, the Festival provides a location for up to 70 mainly elderly people to meet up to three days a week from mid-February until December, and produce a variety of handcrafts.

The Festival assembles choirs from local primary schools, and with the aid of adult choirs from throughout the Waikato, provides carol singing sessions throughout the day and evening for three weeks each December.

The event, which attracts busloads of visitors from outside Cambridge, raised $38,000 last year from the sale of the Christmas themed craftwork produced by volunteers, with the proceeds being donated to charities.

The awards are decided by a process where each of the 20 regions participating votes for all other regions. Their scores are then added to those of an independent four-person judging panel, with the overall scores determining the winner and runner-up.

This year, the judging panel included North and South Editor Robyn Langwell, who presented the awards along with TrustPower Chairman Harold Titter and Chief Executive Keith Tempest.


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