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Top Volunteers Rocked Dunedin at National Awards

Top Volunteers Rocked Dunedin at National Awards

United vision to claim future saw Queenstown Lakes District well-represented Shaping Our Future have returned home after representing the Queenstown Lake’s volunteer community in Dunedin this weekend.

The 2015 Trustpower National Community Awards was held over the weekend (March 18-20). Shaping Our Future representative Kathy Dedo was there to ensure her team presented the best their organisation has to She and fellow volunteer AJ Mason took the community district planning group head to head with the country’s best and brightest volunteer groups and projects on a national stage of friendly competition.

District councillors Merv Aoake and Rachel Brown were also on hand to support the team over the weekend.

Shaping Our Future came out on top at the Trustpower Queenstown Lakes District Community Awards last year, beating out dozens of other local voluntary organisations for the group’s efforts to provide local residents with a voice in the development of their beautiful region.

Trustpower community relations representative Arielle Monk says although the group did not come away as award recipients, the work completed – and still being undertaken – by Kathy, AJ and their team of volunteers shouldn’t be forgotten or discounted.

“Kathy, AJ, David Kennedy and heaps of other awesome volunteers are truly committed to cultivating the best future they can possibly envision for their district,” Monk said.

“They might not get to see the fruit of all their labours in the next 10, 20 years even – but there’s a saying about wise people planting trees under which they may never be shaded. They’re providing a community voice in future planning that will hopefully benefit the next generation.

“From what I gather, they’ve roped in local residents all over the district to get them thinking about issues like transport, infrastructure, community networking and a lot more than that. These are big ideas but Shaping Our Future isn’t afraid to tackle them and provide that voice at a grassroots level.”

The national competition brought together 25 groups from across 27 New Zealand districts and the Wellington region – all were Supreme Winners of last year’s Trustpower Community Awards, a programme run in partnership with local councils.

The Awards were announced on Saturday evening (19 March) at the 2015 Trustpower National Community Awards Dinner, held at the Dunedin Town Hall. The West Otago Health Trust, representing the Clutha District, was named Supreme and Youth in Emergency YES, a group representing Rotorua Lakes District, was named runner-up.

A brand new award was also announced and presented to the Murupara Youth Leadership Projects Team, from the Whakatane District, for being identified as a group with strong potential to grow. The award is appropriately named Whetū Mātaiata, which means ‘morning star’.

In between a weekend of sight-seeing and networking, the Queenstown Lakes volunteers gave an eight minute presentation on what the group has achieved and tried to convince a panel of independent judges they deserve the title of 2015’s Trustpower National Community Award Supreme Winner. The groups were
judged on their presentations, along with a 1,000 word summary of the organisation, by their peers and a panel of independent judges.

This year on the judging panel the Trustpower community relations team hosted TVNZ’s Good Sorts presenter Hadyn Jones and Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Honourable Jo Goodhew.


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