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Entries open for 2017 Grey District Community Awards


Entries open for 2017 Trustpower Grey District Community Awards

Cobden Aromahana Sanctuary and Recreation Areas shared their story of transformation at the Trustpower National Community Awards with an inspirational presentation.

Rob Harrison and Henk Stengs took the organisation head to head with the country’s best and brightest volunteer groups and projects on a national stage of friendly competition. Deputy Mayor Murray Hay and his partner Gaylene Donaldson were on hand to support the team over the weekend.

The group presented to fellow Regional Supreme Winners and an independent judging panel that included Kristin Hall from TV One/Seven Sharp, Karen Smith from Volunteering New Zealand and Billie Jordan who was the winner of the Local Hero category of the 2015 New Zealander of the Year Awards.

Each of the 25 voluntary groups at the Awards took part in the judging process, with the peer voting making up 50% of the final judging score and the independent judging panel’s votes making up the other 50%. The groups were judged on five criteria: volunteer input; use of resources; initiative and creativity; effectiveness of activities; and impact on targeted audience and/or community.

Trustpower Community Relations Representative Abbie Siely says that although the group did not come away as award recipients, they made a lasting impression with their story of how community spirit and volunteerism transformed a local dump into a sanctuary and recreation area for locals and wildlife to enjoy.

“Rob and Henk’s presentation detailed the activities the group has undertaken to protect and enhance the sanctuary. The current focus is on planting native species to encourage additional spawning for whitebait, and developing an area surrounding Cobden Lagoon as an extension to the sanctuary for birds.

“The group explained how volunteer involvement is critical to the success of both sanctuary and recreation area developments, with helpers taking on trap monitoring, weeding, planting and track maintenance. Simply put, this community asset wouldn’t exist without the effort of volunteers,” she says.

The national competition brought together 25 groups from across 27 regions – all who were named Supreme Winners of last year’s Trustpower Community Awards, a programme run in partnership with local councils.

The Awards were announced on Saturday evening (25 March) at the 2016 Trustpower National Community Awards Dinner, held at the Blue Baths. Koha Kai, representing Invercargill Southland, was named Supreme Winner and Bay Bush Action Trust, a group representing the Far North District, was named Runner-Up. The Whetū Mātaiata Award winner was Buller High School Bollywood Group from the Buller District.


Meanwhile, locals can enter their favourite community organisation into this year’s Trustpower Grey District Community Awards. The Awards are open to all groups with a voluntary component. Enter at Council or online at trustpower.co.nz/communityawards. Entries close Friday 12 May.


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