Civic & community awards recognise local volunteers
Volunteer groups and individuals were honoured for their dedication to the community last night at the 2016 Kāpiti Coast Civic and Community Awards.
At a function in the Council’s Civic Building in Paraparaumu, four Civic Awards were presented by Mayor Ross Church. Six groups received a Wellington Airport Regional Community Award from Wellington Community Trust’s Norrey Simmons and six more groups were acknowledged as highly commended by Leanne Gibson of Wellington International Airport.
“These people put a huge amount of time and effort into their communities and it’s great to be able to recognise their valuable contribution,” Mayor Ross Church said.
The Civic Awards recognise those who have contributed to the community through hard work or who have achieved outstandingly as individuals in their chosen field. Recipients of these awards were Adrienne Carpenter, Eric and Vanessa Mathews, Hilary Wooding, and Glenys and Gus Evans.
The Wellington Airport Regional Community Awards focus on volunteer groups in the categories of heritage & environment, health & wellbeing, arts & culture, sports & leisure, education & child/youth development and rising star. Winners and those highly commended in these awards were:
Heritage & Environment
Winner Friends of Ōtaki River
Highly commended Te Araroa Wellington Trust
Health & Wellbeing
Winner Shed Project
Highly commended Loved 4 Life
Sports & Leisure
Winner Paekākāriki Pedalling Paradise
Highly commended Hoop Club
Education & Child/Youth Development
Winner Te Ara Korowai
Highly commended Kapiti Birthright
Arts & Culture
Winner Māoriland Film Festival (also Supreme Award Winner and will represent Kāpiti in the regional awards)
Highly commended Tumeke Roopu
Winner Kidz Need Dadz Wellington
Highly commended Whirlwind
Civic Award winners
Adrienne is an ‘ultimate volunteer’ - the person who always knows what needs doing before anyone realises it and just gets on and does it. Adrienne volunteers for the Rahui Rugby Club, Ōtaki Athletic Club, Waitohu School Gardener Club, Waitohu Home & School Association, and Ōtaki College Home & School Association just to name a few. She puts in countless hours for these clubs and the wider community while holding down full-time work, raising a family and being a supportive family member and friend to many. She is always there to support people when things aren’t going well - literally dropping what she’s doing to help. Aidy is deceptively shy and extremely humble - she selflessly just does what’s needed, rather than talking about it or wanting credit for the work. She is a community taonga, a treasure.
Eric and Vanessa Mathews:
Eric and Vanessa are members of the Friends of the Ōtaki River. During the last 17 years, the pair have been strong advocates for the restoration and planting of native plants and trees along the river corridor with particular emphasis on the Ōtaki Estuary. It was Eric who encouraged Greater Wellington Regional Council to make a grant of $30,000 in 2000 to clear noxious weeds, plant thousands of native seedlings and clear waterways to encourage whitebait spawning and fish habitat. Their work has provided the community with lovely riverside facilities including walkways, bridges, a greenfield site, a viewing platform, picnic tables, seats and the recently opened board walk. They have also encouraged children to get involved in planting and restoration projects. Additionally, Eric has hand-carved 27 signs identifying the groups involved in restoring the river corridor which can be seen at many sites. He was also president of the Recreational Fishing Club for 15 years and has been delighting generations with his puppeteering skills. Vanessa has been an active and enthusiastic member of the Ōtaki Floral Art & Garden Club for 31 years and a dedicated member of Keep Ōtaki Beautiful for about 15 years.
Hilary has made an outstanding contribution to the district for twenty-five years. As a Councillor for three terms, Hilary was a strong advocate for arts and social services. Her contribution resulted in the current success of the Mahara Gallery (of which she was on the Trust Board for ten years) as well as the building of Ōtaki and Paraparaumu Libraries. She has been a Friend of Kāpiti Libraries for fifteen years, on the Trust of the Adult Literacy Society for five years and a member of the Te Newhanga Kāpiti Community Centre, where she helped see the establishment through a period of change and invigoration. She has continued to contribute to the artistic and social well-being of the community after finishing her time as head of the district libraries. The libraries are well used and treasured by this community, and that is in no small part due to Hilary's efforts. Hilary’s long record of service throughout her working life, her time as a Councillor, then continued contribution through her membership of many organisations resulted in her receiving a Queen's Service Medal in 1990.
Glenys and Gus Evans:
Glenys and Gus contribute to many events around the district by generously donating plants from their nursery in Waikanae to beautify venues. Most recently their plants graced the Paraparaumu College Ball venue. They have also provided specimen plants for the Kāpiti Sustainable Home and Garden Show, numerous private events and school productions. Additionally, they have given every student at the two Waikanae primary schools a free vegetable seedling to take home on several occasions. By providing children with seedlings, they are fostering a love of growing things and skills to grow healthy, fresh food to eat. In 2005, the pair were awarded the John Follett Award of Recognition for outstanding service to The International Plant Propagators Society. Gus and Glenys have a wonderful sense of community spirit, always delivering their plants with smiles and great humour! They have had their plant nursery on the Kāpiti Coast since 1983.
Wellington Airport Regional Community Award winners
Arts & Culture winner - Māoriland Land Film Festival
The Māoriland Film Festival is an annual film festival which has been running since 2014 and brings the community together for a week of watching and sharing the experiences of indigenous films. In just two years, they have screened over 300 short films, feature films and documentaries to some 15,000 people including free family screenings. Volunteers run every aspect of the festival - this includes the running of film-making workshops for young people resulting in several national awards for film. The Māoriland Film Festival inspires and educates all parts of the community from elderly to the young, māori and pakeha. It has brought international and national filmmakers from all parts of the globe to the district, has put Ōtaki and the Kāpiti Coast on the world map, and brought economic and social benefits to our communities.
Education & Child Youth Development winner -Te Ara Korowai
Te Ara Korowai is a peer-led service in the Kāpiti community where people can come and talk about their mental health without fear of judgement or discrimination. The staff and volunteers use their own recovery experiences to inspire hope in others and share self-management strategies to improve mental well-being. They support people to attend workshops that will improve their health holistically through creativity, healthy eating and peer- support groups. They use a completely non-clinical approach and work with people as unique individuals who are experiencing normal human reactions to stressful or challenging life events. Te Ara Korowai simply would not be who they are without their amazing volunteers. They have an open door policy and are used as a successful community hub by other community groups.
Health & Wellbeing winner - Shed Project
The Shed Project’s main objective is to provide a space for younger people who have an intellectual, physical or sensory impairment where they can access educational, social and recreational activities. The aim is to foster self-worth through the development of skills and behaviours that will lead participants to consider themselves as valued members of the community. The Shed Project offers several options for learning including NZQA-accredited courses, hands-on vocational training in woodwork, craftwork and toy making, and music, art and dance groups. They then find work placements for their young people with the aim of eventually getting them into some type of paid employment and becoming more independent. Volunteers also help young people to organise social events in a safe environment so they can learn social skills and form friendships. Gradually as the wider community becomes aware of the Shed Project’s activities it is hoped that some of the barriers between those with disabilities and the wider community are broken down.
Heritage & Environment category winner - Friends of Ōtaki River
Friends of the Ōtaki River meet regularly to work on the restoration and enhancement of the Ōtaki River and estuary. They have also helped develop family recreational areas near the river, create public walkways, organise educational planting programmes and encourage environmental awareness. This year, the group – which has 290 listed members - has planted 5,000 trees, held four public planning days, completed and opened the Greenfield picnic area at the estuary, raised $25,000 in funding, and potted 5,500 plants in their nursery with the help of Te Horo School. They also hosted their annual walk attracting a few hundred people and assisted with a Māori medicinal and historic river walk. Generally the group is lifting the profile of the river and raising awareness of its important environmental and recreational benefits.
Sport & Leisure category winner - Paekākāriki Pedalling Paradise
The aim of Paekākāriki Pedalling Paradise is to create lifelong cyclists and encourage sustainable transport. The other aims of the group are to:
- improve the health, wellbeing and resilience of children and adults through cycling
- promote Paekākāriki as a great cycling destination
- increase a sense of community through cycling events and other projects
- improve bike facilities and safety for cyclists
- increase cycling knowledge and skills
- reduce the cost of students getting to school or college.
The group has established a bike library through a community- wide collection of unused bicycles, so people can borrow one to ride. They have also created a work shop, thanks to grants and donations of tools and building experience, where people learn how to dismantle and fix bikes. Additionally, they run a weekly bike club and road safety campaigns for children.
Rising Star category winner - Kids Need Dadz Wellington
Kids Need Dadz Wellington aims to strengthen families by supporting and educating fathers on the importance of being involved in their children’s lives. Their vision is that all children have fathers who are loving, caring and supportive. They aim to strengthen father and child relationships through support, fun and education. The key focuses are to provide counselling and support to Dads, but also to help mothers and other family members during times when a family is suffering a domestic crisis around separation and domestic violence. By empowering men to become better fathers, the group aims to have a positive influence on improving family lives, reduce domestic violence and the national suicide rate. Weekly support meetings are held in Raumati and are chaired by a trained volunteer in a safe and supportive environment. Kids Need Dadz also operates a free-call phone service and hold programmes on being a better father.