Te Kakano AotearoaTrust wins top award

Wanaka's Te Kakano Aotearoa Trust has won the Supreme Award at the 2013 TrustPower Queenstown Lakes District Community Awards.

The awards were announced last night at a function at the Mercure in Queenstown.

The charitable trust was formed six years ago by a group of Wanaka individuals who wanted to establish a community-based native plant nursery for regeneration and reforestation projects.

TrustPower community relations representative Jess Somerville said the trust also aimed to inspire and assist other communities through education, demonstration and hands-on participation.

''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,'' she said.

''In the last year alone, Te Kakano 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.''

The trust now has 497 volunteers, ranging from local residents to overseas school groups and businesses.

Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden said the trust's efforts were 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,'' Ms van Uden said.

The trust received a framed certificate, trophy, $1500 prize money and the opportunity to represent the district at the 2013 TrustPower National Community Awards, in Invercargill next March.

A record 38 entries for 36 groups were received for this year's awards.

Other winners were. - Heritage and Environment: runner-up, Glenorchy Community Association ''Stop the Tunnel'' Action Group; winner, Warbirds over Wanaka.

Health and Wellbeing: commendations, Harvest Community Garden and St John 1st Response Glenorchy; runner-up, St John Wakatipu - health shuttle; winner, Wanaka Land SAR.

Arts and Culture: runner-up, Montessori Children's House; winner, Glenorchy 150th Committee.

Sport and Leisure: commendation, Lake Hawea Community Centre Committee; runner-up, Wakatipu Rowing Club; joint winners: Lake Hayes Estate Community Association - bike track - and Remarkables Adaptive Programme.

Education and Child/Youth Development: runner-up: Hawea Flat School - grans' programme; winner, Kahu Youth Trust. Youth Spirit: runner-up, Hannah Gerrard, of Mt Aspiring College; winner, Korrie Middendorf, of Wakatipu High School.

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