Porirua sports awards saved
Council offers $10,000 grant
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.
Relieved: Porirua Community Trust chairman Henry Smith says Porirua City Council’s commitment to the sports awards is much-needed.