Porirua sports awards saved

Coun­cil of­fers $10,000 grant

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

There was a dan­ger the Porirua Sports Awards would not have taken place this year if not for the in­ter­ven­tion of Porirua City Coun­cil, it was re­vealed last week.

An item at the coun­cil’s Te Komiti on Thurs­day out­lined the dif­fi­cul­ties the awards’ or­gan­iser, Porirua Com­mu­nity Trust, had in host­ing the event.

The awards, usu­ally held in Novem­ber, cost $48,000 to put on, ac­cord­ing to the trust.

Fol­low­ing an au­dit by Depart­ment of In­ter­nal Af­fairs, Porirua Com­mu­nity Trust is no longer able to ap­proach its main fun­der, Mana Com­mu­nity Grants Foun­da­tion, for fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance with the awards.

Any ap­proach must be made through an­other party, a re­port to the coun­cil said.

Te Komiti chair­man Euon Mur­rell said the coun­cil’s de­ci­sion to put $10,000 to­wards the event and set up a com­mit­tee to over­see it en­sured the awards would con­tinue.

‘‘ This rec­om­men­da­tion we have in front of us is a life­line,’’ Mur­rell said. ‘‘If we do not do this now we may not have the awards tak­ing place this year. We are giv­ing breath­ing space.’’

Coun­cil­lor Litea Ah Hoi, who is also chair­woman of Mana Com­mu­nity Grants Foun­da­tion, said the trust no longer had the ca­pac­ity to or­gan­ise and host the big night.

‘‘This new leg­is­la­tion that’s come in has said the trust can no longer ap­proach Mana Com­mu­nity Grants Foun­da­tion,’’ she said. ‘‘It’s un­for­tu­nate, but that’s the way it is.’’

Deputy mayor ’Ana Cof­fey and coun­cil­lor Ken Dou­glas both ex­pressed reser­va­tions over the coun­cil fund­ing the event.

‘‘ Black tie din­ners are no longer fash­ion­able in our city,’’ Dou­glas said. ‘‘There needs to be a more ap­pro­pri­ate way to recog­nise our youth and sport­ing ex­cel­lence, which is not done enough.’’

Cof­fey said the $10,000 in­jec­tion did not align with the coun­cil’s event strat­egy, which does not al­low for fund­ing of din­ners and sim­i­lar oc­ca­sions.

‘‘I’m cer­tainly not try­ing to un­der­mine what the awards are do­ing, but I’m strug­gling to see how we can give $ 10,000 to­wards a night for 200 peo­ple when other groups that run longer events have to come cap in hand,’’ she said. ‘‘We need to re­ally look at what we’re pay­ing for here.’’

Coun­cil­lor Izzy Ford, who was on the strate­gic com­mit­tee that over­saw the awards, said the coun­cil should be in­volved and the awards were the best way to recog­nise sport­ing ex­cel­lence in Porirua.

Porirua mayor Nick Leggett agreed.

‘‘It’s amaz­ing that we spent mil­lions of dol­lars on a sports arena and we would not spend a few more dol­lars to cel­e­brate what hap­pens in it,’’ he said.

The coun­cil­lors agreed on the $10,000 in­put, with all other grants and spon­sor­ship to be con­firmed by July. Cof­fey voted against the rec­om­men­da­tion.

Af­ter the meet­ing, Porirua Com­mu­nity Trust chair­man Henry Smith said it was a strug­gle to find spon­sors and other av­enues of fund­ing last year.

The coun­cil’s com­mit­ment was a good thing, he said.

‘‘We could’ve done it this year, but on a much smaller scale,’’ he said. ‘‘ This way, it’s a win-win sit­u­a­tion and we keep the awards go­ing. In the city’s 50th year, it will be a won­der­ful event.’’

Coun­cil­lors de­cided the fund­ing from the coun­cil will be with­drawn if other sources of fund­ing can be found. A re­view of the coun­cil’s in­volve­ment in the sports awards will be made next year.

Mana Com­mu­nity Grants Foun­da­tion will still be in charge of the vot­ing process and run the web­site for nom­i­na­tions.

The sports awards have been held an­nu­ally since 1969. Past win­ners in­clude All Black Jerry Collins, golfer Lyn­nette Brooky and golfer Michael Camp­bell.

Photo: RHI­AN­NON McCONNELL

Re­lieved: Porirua Com­mu­nity Trust chair­man Henry Smith says Porirua City Coun­cil’s com­mit­ment to the sports awards is much-needed.

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