Monday, December 11, 2023

Kiwi rescuers take out top community award in Wellington

The Capital Kiwi Trust Board has taken out the top prize at the 2023 Wellington Airport Regional Community Awards.

The Supreme Award recognises the successful release and dispersal of 62 kiwi around Mākara last November as part of the Capital Kiwi project.

Since 2004, Wellington Airport and the region’s five local Councils have come together for the awards each year to recognise outstanding mahi and to celebrate volunteers for their valuable contribution to the community.

Wellington Mayor, Tory Whanau said she was grateful for the opportunity to say “cheers to all the volunteers”.

“Pōneke is so lucky to have so many amazing volunteer community groups and individuals selflessly contributing positively to our arts, culture, environment, recreation, education and well-being, and this is our chance to acknowledge that incredible mahi.

“All our winners are legends, but Capital Kiwi are so deserving of this Supreme Award, having really captured the heart of the nation and provided Wellingtonians with a sense of ownership and pride in the unprecedented success of this world-leading project.

“Protecting our natural environment and native wildlife, especially the iconic kiwi, is a win for our city, our future, and our connections with Toitū Te Taiao,” the Mayor said.

Nominations are submitted to a panel of judges (Deputy Mayor Laurie Foon, Wellington Airport’s Manager Brand and Sponsorship Jo Maxwell, and Council’s Empowering Communities Manager Vondy Thornton,) with the Supreme winner and the five category award winners going on to represent Wellington in the nationwide Regional Awards in November.

Judge, Jo Maxwell said the airport was proud to celebrate the outstanding work of community groups in Wellington City over the previous 12 months. 

“These groups do amazing mahi to help others in the community and thoroughly deserve recognition for this,” she said.

“Congratulations to all the winners, and best of luck for the Regional Community Awards finals later this year.”

Wellington Community Awards 2023 group of nominees and winners with Mayor and Councillors
Wellington Community Awards 2023 group of nominees and winners with Mayor and Councillors

2023 Supreme and Category Award Winners

Supreme & Heritage and Environment winner – Capital Kiwi Trust Board

Since 2018, the Capital Kiwi Project has partnered with locals, iwi and landowners to prepare Wellington’s western hills for the return of kiwi. Now, over 60 kiwi have been released into the area.

Kiwi have likely been extinct in Wellington for over 150 years, and the Capital Kiwi Project has been working in partnership with Wellington City Council to prepare for their return.

The Capital Kiwi Project has deployed the country’s largest community-owned network of 4,500 traps covering 24,000 hectares of Wellington’s western hills – an area bigger than Abel Tasman National Park. The network has removed thousands of predators from the landscape. 

Arts and Culture winner – WIDance

WIDance is a collectively run charitable Trust. We provide inclusive community dance experiences for people who experience exclusion and have limited access to dance experiences throughout the Greater Wellington region.

WIDance embraces the difference and uniqueness of everyone, disabled or non-disabled, young, or old, experienced or novice, and works toward equitable opportunity in access to the performing arts, with a focus on dance.

Education and Child/Youth Development winner – Mountains to Sea Wellington

Mountains to Sea Wellington delivers inspiring freshwater and marine education programmes for schools and community groups and leads restoration projects on the south coast in close proximity to Wellington Airport

Health and Well-being winner – Everybody Eats

Everybody Eats is a multi-award-winning charitable dining concept – they take perfectly good raw food that would otherwise go to waste and turn it into restaurant quality 3-course meals. Customers can pay whatever they like, even if it’s nothing, for nutritious and freshly prepared food.

They’ve got it down to a fine art; a $5 donation can fund one 3-course meal for a vulnerable Kiwi. They aim to be part of solving three huge problems we have in NZ: food waste, food poverty, and social isolation.

Everybody Eats is not a soup kitchen; they provide their diners with beautifully plated meals served at shared tables, which encourages them to interact with Everybody Eats volunteers and other diners in a dignified, safe and stigma-free environment.

Sport and Leisure winner – Special Olympics Te Whanganui-a-Tara

Running sports training and competition in Athletics, Basketball, Bocce, Swimming, Ten Pin Bowling and Snow Sports for 96 athletes, all of whom have an intellectual disability. They take athletes to about 12 inter-Club tournaments around the Lower North Island each year and host about six tournaments a year in Wellington.

Rising Star winner – Capital Theatre Trust

The Capital Theatre Trust launched in June 2021 to encourage and enable participation in all aspects of performing arts through its productions, workshops and community collaboration.

Its focus is currently large musical theatre which had been missing from Wellington for over 6 years. It’s first production Les Miserables at the newly re-opened St. James in August 2022 was a rousing success with over 200 volunteers bringing this show to life for an audience in excess of 20,000. It was a fabulous opportunity for local performers, musicians and technicians to gain invaluable real-life experience on Wellington’s largest stage.

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