Far North pride and flair on show

The Northland Age - - Local News -

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

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