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Instead of a dusty old carpark, Paihia now has an attractive seaside park with a public piano, green space and many more projects on the way.
Jess Somerville, Trustpower Community Relations Representative

Run over three days, the 2014 Trustpower National Community Awards recognises last year’s Trustpower Community Awards regional Supreme Winners from 27 districts across New Zealand. Focus Paihia Charitable Community Trust, also known as Focus Paihia, will represent the Far North on this national stage.

Trustpower Community Relations Representative Jess Somerville says Focus Paihia is an “exceptional example of a community taking ownership of their town”.

“It’s something locals, and especially those who pitched in by providing helping hands, cheap labour or materials and planning skills, can all be proud of,” Miss Somerville says.

More than $60,000 of the $180,000 total cost was donated to Focus Paihia by their local opshop, in a show of community spirit behind the project. The purpose of the park development was to beautify and rejuvenate the waterfront for locals, workers and visitors, while “retaining the friendly, village-like atmosphere” Paihia is famous for, volunteer Tiffany Holland said.

While in Wellington this weekend, each group will present for eight minutes on their achievements, also outlining why they deserve to win the top prize of $2,500. Presentations take place on Saturday (March 28) at the Memorial Lecture Theatre at Victoria University, followed by an awards dinner at Te Papa.

Along with representatives Sarah Greener and Grant Harnish of Focus Paihia, Deputy Mayor Tania McInnes from the Far North District Council will also be in attendance.

And local groups should be looking to ramp up their efforts ahead of the 2015 Trustpower Far North District Community Awards. Anyone can enter a group, and all voluntary groups and non-profit organisations are eligible.  Entries open April 7, 2015 and close in June.