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Who are the Senior Achievers in your community?

Age Concern New Zealand MEDIA RELEASE -- 14 MARCH 2002

Who are the Senior Achievers in your community?

The new Age Concern Senior Achievers Awards are today launched at the Beehive in Wellington. It marks a nationwide effort promoting pride in the voluntary contributions of older New Zealanders.

"This is a new beginning for the Awards," says Garth Taylor, Age Concern chief executive. "Throughout New Zealand, there are people working tirelessly keeping the bonds of community strong, many behind the scenes and without any demand for reward. Many of these essential volunteers are older people, who help provide services and activities that might otherwise not happen.

"The Awards are about valuing and recognising older people's contribution. They undertake work in community services that help people keep up a good quality of life, and are advisors and mentors within business," says Mr Taylor. "They volunteer as coaches and members of sporting organisations, contribute within the arts, do the administration and serve on boards that keeps services and groups functioning, and help save and pass on cultural traditions to future generations."

The new Age Concern Senior Achievers feature six regional Awards, with ceremonies to be held in August. The regional recipients will then join together for the national Awards in October. At a ceremony to be held at Government House in Wellington, the Governor-General will announce the New Zealand Senior Achiever for 2002.

Past recipients of the Awards have come from diverse backgrounds and places, from small towns such as Hokitika, to the larger metropolitan areas like Auckland and Christchurch.

Last year, the Senior Achievers Charitable Trust, who had been running the Awards since 1995, gifted the concept to Age Concern New Zealand. The Trust was preparing to cease its operations, but wanted the Awards to continue. Age Concern was chosen for its compatible vision and network of offices and people. Due to this change, the Awards were not held in 2001.

"To make the Awards happen again, Age Concern needed a sponsoring partner. We are fortunate that MASS Healthcare has given its generous support," said Mr Taylor. "Both organisations are excited and proud that, together, we can make this event happen. The way is set for a successful and mutually beneficial partnership between the not-for-profit and business sectors."

The Awards are open to any New Zealand citizen, over 60, who has made an outstanding voluntary contribution to their community.

Nomination forms are available by contacting: - the MASS Healthcare freephone 0800 60 80 99, - local Age Concern Councils (see the phone book for contact details), - Age Concern New Zealand (04 471 2709), - email: info@seniorachievers.org.nz, or - visit www.seniorachievers.org.nz.

ENDS

For further information, please contact: Garth Taylor, Chief Executive (wk) 0-4-471 2709 or (mobile) 025 243 6991 or Dave Henry, National President (hm) 0-3-476 7878 or Karen McKibbin, General Manager, MASS Healthcare (wk) 07 577 6099 or (mobile) 021 680 809

For more about the Age Concern Senior Achievers Awards, including stories on past recipients and about the regions, go to: www.seniorachievers.org.nz

Age Concern is a not-for-profit, charitable organisation working to promote the well-being and quality of life of older people in New Zealand, since 1948. www.ageconcern.org.nz

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