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Kaupapa Maori comes up trumps for local wardens

EMBARGOED, 8PM, TUESDAY, SEPT 22
Kaupapa Maori comes up trumps for local wardens

The Murikihu Maori Wardens have scooped the Supreme Award of the 2015 Trustpower Invercargill Southland Community Awards tonight at the Civic Theatre.

The awards were announced and presented earlier this evening (Monday, September 21) in front of more than 110 volunteers and their supporters. Invercargill city and Southland district councillors, Mayors Tim Shadbolt and Gary Tong, and the honourable MPs Sarah Dowie and Todd Barclay.

Two representatives received, on behalf of the dozens of other volunteers involved, a framed certificate, a trophy and $1,500 in prize money. These folks also will have the opportunity to represent the district at the 2015 Trustpower National Community Awards, being held in Dunedin next March.

In total, Trustpower gave away over $5,000 to various community groups through the awards tonight, and have doled out more than $40,000 in the awards programme across Southland and Invercargill since the company began working in the region six years ago.

Trustpower Community Relations Representative Arielle Monk says it was heartening to see a Maori organisation take out the top award, which was voted on unanimous decision by the judging panel earlier this month.

“We’re really stoked for the Murihiku whanau because often Maori wardens fly under the radar and work away quietly in the back ground, and this award is so representative of what wardens do right across Aotearoa. We really want this programme to be accessible for all cultures in New Zealand, and to have Southland’s mana whenua leading the volunteers of this region is ka rawe (awesome).

“And around the country we know small rural communities are struggling more and more. But this year we had entries from Te Anau, Glengarry, Riverton and right here in the CBD – it’s really good to see a spread across Invercargill and the Southland district,” she said.

Secondary schools from Invercargill and around Southland also put up nominees of high calibre, with six schools participating in the Trustpower Youth Community Spirit Award process. Te Wharekura o Arowhenua, Fiordland College, Southland Boys High’, Southland Girls’ High, Central Southland High and Verdon College all put forward worthy young candidates for the award.

The judges knew they had a difficult decision on their hands but, in the end, Thomas Slee of Southland Boys’ High School took home the award, a cheque for $500 and presented Southland Land, Search and Rescue with a donation for $250.

The competition for this year’s Awards was strong, with more than 40 groups entered for the judging process. Monk says the number of social wellbeing and health volunteer groups was encouraging, and she is hoping to increase the number of entries for next year’s awards.

“Now that I’ve got to know the district a bit, and spent time out and about, I’ll know where to find the volunteers humbly hiding away – there are so many people going unrecognised for keeping the fabric of these communities together.”

--

Category Winners:

Heritage and Environment
Runner Up: Bluff 20/24
Winner: Otatara Land Care Group

Health and Well Being
Commendation: Blind Citizens
Commendation: The Hospice Shop
Runner-Up: Bellyful
Winner: Age Concern

Arts and Culture
Runner-up: Glengarry Community Market
Winner: Riversdale Arts

Sport and Leisure
Runner Up: Te Anau Community Trust
Winner: Ohai Swimming Pool Committee

Education and Child/Youth Development
Runner Up: Fiordland Conservation Trust
Winner: Citizens Advice Bureau

Supreme Winner
Murihiku Maori Wardens

Youth Spirit
Thomas Slee – Southland Boys’ High School

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