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Goodhew: TrustPower National Community Awards dinner

Jo Goodhew

24 MARCH, 2014

Speech: TrustPower National Community Awards dinner

E aku rangatira, tēnā koutou katoa. Ka nui te honore ki te mihi ki a koutou.

Thank you for inviting me to speak about the value of the voluntary sector to New Zealand, and to assist in presenting this evening’s awards.

I am delighted to be a part of this wonderful and prestigious event.

The Trustpower Community Awards is now one of the country's largest community-based awards programmes.

I would like to acknowledge Trustpower Chairman, Bruce Harker, Chief Executive, Vince Hawksworth, General Manager of Strategy and Growth, Peter Calderwood and other members of the Trustpower leadership team, Robert Farron, Chris O’Hara, Deion Campbell and Simon Clarke.

Thank you for organising this event and for your long-established and continued support of the community and voluntary sector.

Thank you to Vince and Peter for being part of tonight’s independent judging panel.

I also acknowledge the rest of our judging panel.

I understand that it’s not an easy task to choose a Supreme Winner for the National Community Award from the many talented and devoted groups we’ve seen here today.

I would also like to acknowledge the mayors and councillors who are representing 24 local authorities.

You must be proud of the inspiring projects which have come out of your regions.

And a special acknowledgement to the award-winning volunteer organisations that have come from all over the country to be represented here today.

I am pleased that you were able to showcase your efforts at this national event, and I hope you have taken the chance to meet and share ideas with like-minded people.

“Naku te rourou nau te rourou ka ora ai te tangata” – with your contribution and my contribution, the people will live.

This whakataukī or Māori proverb sums up the importance of volunteering as a fundamental building block of society.

The desire to pitch in and help out is a cornerstone of New Zealand culture.

About a third of all New Zealanders get involved in their communities through volunteering for an organisation, providing millions of volunteer hours a year and making a significant economic contribution.

This investment of time, effort and energy not only helps our country to function, but also contributes to the strength and resilience of our communities, making them better places for us to live.

At last year’s Awards ceremony, I spoke about the concept of “social capital”.

The work of voluntary organisations is often aimed towards specific and important outcomes.

But in the course of working towards these goals, volunteers help to generate the trust and personal networks which create a sense of community that makes us all feel included.

In New Zealand, the concept of social capital manifests itself in the kiwi ‘can do’ attitude.

Over the past few years, New Zealand communities have had the strength to unite in the face of significant challenges, ranging from the Canterbury earthquakes to a coastline of beached whales at Farewell Spit and floods in the Coromandel at the height of the holiday season.

Incidents like these test the structure of our communities and highlight the role of community leaders and volunteers.

As New Zealanders, we work hard but we are not good at talking ourselves up.

I know you don’t do your work for “recognition” but it is important to publicly acknowledge your contribution to freedom, opportunity, safety, and justice in our society.

Our communities are better off because of your generosity.

This time last year, we named Kaibosh as the Supreme Winner of the 2012 National Community Awards.

I recently had a meeting with Anoushka from tonight’s judging panel and her colleagues at Kaibosh.

I was very impressed by the amount of surplus food that they have rescued from the food industry and redistributed to those in need.

I was told that the organisation rescued over 102,000 kilos of food in the past year, equivalent to the weight of a blue whale!

By rescuing at least 10,000 kilos of food per month to provide nearly 30,000 meals, these dedicated people have changed the lives of others.

Today we have heard about many exciting and inspirational projects.

Each one is a brilliant example of the combined efforts of volunteers, as well as the people paid to guide and assist them including volunteer managers, community leaders, sponsors, the media and corporate supporters, like Trustpower.

In sharing and spreading your stories we build up the foundations that our communities can stand on, especially in difficult times.

My warmest congratulations to all of tonight’s participants and winners.

Best of luck to everyone in the running for the National Supreme Award….. the wait is almost over.

Ladies and gentlemen will you please join with me in giving our 2013 Regional Community Award winners a round of applause.

I would like to leave you with another whakataukī: “He taonga rongonui te aroha ki te tangata” - goodwill towards others is a precious treasure.

Thank you.

Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

ENDS


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