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The Rich Lister and former Forsyth Barr chairman, known for his charitable contributions and mentorship, was one of five people to receive lifetime contribution awards at the inaugural Wayfare Spirit of the Wakatipu Awards ceremony, organised by the foundation, at Queenstown Events Centre on Saturday night.
Tom Pryde, Fae Robertson, Kaye Parker, Barbara Simpson and Sir Eion went on the stage together to receive the lifetime awards.
Earlier in the night, Sir Eion told the black-tie audience of 480 that he and Jan, Lady Edgar, had decided to give $1million to the foundation over the next 6 to 8 years.
"You get enormous satisfaction from giving," he said.
"My wife and I, and our children, have been fortunate and the pleasure in giving back to so many causes has been outstanding."
Sir Eion said the money would be used to support many organisations in the Wakatipu basin, particularly Winter Games NZ, the Queenstown Trails Trust, Wakatipu Wilding Conifer Control Group and Jardine Park regeneration
The combined fire brigades of the basin picked up the Mayoral Award, for the volunteer firefighters' contribution to keeping the resort safe.
Brazilian Queenstown resident Fabiola Correa, who uses her language skills to translate for non-English speaking residents, particularly expectant mothers, claimed two awards.
She won the Spirit of Health and Wellbeing Award and the People's Choice Award, sponsored by Allied Press community newspaper Mountain Scene.
The awards celebrate philanthropy in all its forms, whether financial or volunteered time and effort.
Foundation chairman Raymond Key said: "This is to celebrate the people who bring this community together."
The Generation Give philanthropy programme, through 18 Wakatipu High School pupils, handed out $10,000 to good causes, funding matched by the Hugo Charitable Trust.
The Kate Moetaua Foundation, in memory of the late drama teacher, presented its first grants.
Other winners: Cory Ratahi, Spirit of Education; Arrowtown Autumn Festival, Spirit of the Community; Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust, Social Impact Innovator; Youth Philanthropy New Zealand, Rising Star; Branches Charitable Trust, Youth Impact; Colliers International Queenstown, Corporate Citizenship; Soho Properties, Spirit of the Environment and Sustainability; Martin King, Spirit of Resilience; Simon Hayes, Spirit of Senior Support; Simon Spark, Spirit of Sport and Recreation; Margaret O'Hanlon, Spirit of Arts and Culture.