Far North pride and flair on show
Representatives of the Far North’s KaiMatariki Trust did not set off for home from Tauranga with a trophy in their luggage, but they reaped the benefits of a weekend spent amongst likeminded volunteers from around New Zealand at the Trustpower national community awards in Tauranga last weekend.
Harko Brown and his daughter Yves represented the group, with Mayor John Carter also there in support, pitting their project head to head with the country’s best and brightest volunteer groups and projects on a national stage.
The KaiMatariki Trust won the right to represent the Far North at last year’s local community awards, Trustpower community and communications adviser Abbie Siely saying that although it didn’t win the big prize, it made a huge impression.
“Harko and Yves brought so much energy to the weekend. Together with Mayor Carter they put on a fun, entertaining and interactive presentation that revitalised the audience towards the end of a full day of presentations,” she said.
“Members of the audience were invited up to learn Ma¯ori games and skills challenges, while Harko shared the cultural meanings behind them. It’s fair to say they made a huge impression on us all, and we’ve all come away with a better appreciation for Ma¯ori culture.”
Twenty-six groups from across the country indulged in friendly, mutually supportive competition for the national title, over a weekend of connection, collaboration and inspiration, she added.
The supreme winner was the Matipo Community Development Charitable Trust (representing the Wanganui District), with the South Catlins Charitable Trust (Invercargill/Southland District) runner-up.
The Whetu¯ Ma¯taiata Award (for an up-and-coming group) went to Under the Stars (Tauranga), and the inaugural Trustpower Award to Uso Bike Ride (Porirua/Wellington).
When they weren’t sightseeing and networking, the volunteers from each organisation gave eight-minute presentations on what they had achieved. They were judged on those presentations, along with a 1000-word summary of their organisation, by their peers and a panel of independent judges including Rhodes Scholar and 2017 runner-up in the NZ Youth Volunteer of the Year Awards, Johann Go, co-founder of Good Neighbour Cam Hill, Tauranga Women’s Refuge general manager Hazel Hape, previous national supreme Winner Bruce Knight, from the Edgecumbe Volunteer Fire Brigade, Volunteering NZ chief executive Dr Katie Bruce, Exult general manager Rosie Julou, Trustpower GM of customer operations Fiona Smith, and Trustpower independent director Richard Aitken.
"It’s fair to say they made a huge impression on us all, and we’ve all come away with a better appreciation for Ma¯ ori culture."
Abbie Siely, Trustpower community and communications adviser on KaiMatariki Trust’s awards entry