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Six years ago a group of motivated Wanaka individuals with a passion for the environment, with no money but a big idea, got together to form this not for profit charitable organisation.
Jess Somerville, Trustpower Community Relations Representative

The Awards were announced and presented on Monday 11 November at a function at the Mercure in Queenstown.

For winning the Supreme Award, Te Kãkano Aotearoa Trust received a framed certificate, a trophy and $1,500 prize money.  Te Kãkano Aotearoa Trust now has the opportunity to represent the district at the 2013 Trustpower National Community Awards, which are being held in Invercargill and Southland region in March 2014.

In total, Trustpower has given away over $5,000 to various community groups through these Awards.

Trustpower Community Relations Jess Somerville says the Te Kãkano Aotearoa Trust is inspiring a new generation of volunteers. 

“Six years ago a group of motivated Wanaka individuals with a passion for the environment, with no money but a big idea, got together to form this not for profit charitable organisation. They wanted to see a community based native plant nursery established that could get involved with community regeneration and reforestation projects and inspire and assist other communities through education, demonstration and hands-on participation.

“Today they have 497 passionate volunteers on their books that range from local residents to temporary visitors to overseas school groups and businesses. They all share a common goal of restoring the native New Zealand landscape and each volunteer leaves their own personal mark on the landscape by helping to grow a plant or a tree.

“Over the years they have developed the nursery to specialise in propagating plants of local origin and they have seen thousands of their plants directly benefit projects right across the community. In the last year alone Te Kãkano volunteers helped propagate, grow and maintain over 7000 plants and, in a new record, an impressive 5000 of these were planted out to 15 different project habitat restoration sites around Wanaka.

“As the Greek saying goes; “he who plants a tree in the shade of which he will never sit has discovered the true meaning of life” and it says a lot about the legacy this forward thinking bunch are achieving for Wanaka and beyond,” says Miss Somerville.

Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Vanessa van Uden says the impact the Te Kakano Aotearoa Trust is having on community regeneration and reforestation projects is inspiring.

“A huge congratulations to the passionate volunteers and trustees of this trust for their ironclad commitment to connect this community and a growing number of others with their land through hands on involvement in looking after it”, says Mayor van Uden.

A record thirty-eight entries were received for thirty-six different groups for this year’s Trustpower Queenstown Lakes District Community Awards.

Other winners at the 2013 Trustpower Queenstown Lakes District Community Awards were:

Heritage and Environment
Runner-Up: Glenorchy Community Association – “STOP the Tunnel” Action Group
Winner: Warbirds over Wanaka

Health and Well Being
Commendation: Harvest Community Garden
Commendation: St John 1st Response Glenorchy
Runner-Up: St John Wakatipu – Health Shuttle
Winner: Wanaka Land SAR

Arts and Culture
Runner-Up: Montessori Children House
Winner: Glenorchy 150th Committee

Sport and Leisure
Commendation: Lake Hawea Community Centre Committee
Runner- up: Wakatipu Rowing Club
Joint Winner:  Lake Hayes Estate Community Association – Bike Track
Joint Winner:  Remarkables Adaptive Programme

Education and Child/Youth Development
Runner-Up: Hawea Flat School - Grans
Winner: Kahu Youth Trust

Supreme Winner
Te Kãkano Aotearoa Trust

Youth Spirit
Winner: Korrie Middendorf
Runner-up: Hannah Gerrard