The Incubator has done Tauranga proud at the Trustpower National Community Awards in the Queenstown Lakes District over the weekend, going head to head with the country's best and brightest volunteer groups and projects on a national stage full of friendly competition.
Simone Anderson and Tanya Trass represented the group, with Mayor Greg Brownless and partner Li-Jong Liao on hand to support the team over the weekend.
Trustpower community and communications advisor Abbie Siely says although The Incubator did not come away as award recipients, they brought ideas that had a great impact on their fellow volunteers.
“Simone and Tanya shared The Incubator's story with a captivated audience. Many guests agreed that The Incubator's model for growing arts and culture could be replicated in their own districts,” says Abbie.
“It's an idea with legs, and presenting it to a collection of Mayors and volunteers from around New Zealand means The Incubator is now helping to develop an arts movement not just in Tauranga, but across the nation.”
Te Puke Gymsport also represented the Western Bay of Plenty at the national awards, but did not place.
The national competition brought together 25 groups from across 27 regions – all of which were named Supreme Winners at their local Trustpower Community Awards.
The Incubator was named Supreme Winner at the Trustpower Tauranga Community Awards last year for its work to create a home for arts and culture in Tauranga. The group celebrates the work of budding artists, hosts exhibits, gigs and classes for the public to enjoy, and collaborates with community organisations to improve social outcomes for the city's vulnerable.
In between a weekend of sight-seeing and networking, Simone and Tanya gave an eight-minute presentation detailing the group's origins and its plans for the future. Participating groups were judged on their presentations, along with a 1000 word summary of the organisation, by their peers and a panel of independent judges.
The winners were announced on Saturday evening at the 2017 Trustpower National Community Awards Dinner, held at the Kawarau Bungy.
The National Supreme Award went to the Edgecumbe Volunteer Fire Brigade, representing Whakatane District, in recognition of their round-the-clock efforts during the evacuation and clean-up of Edgecumbe following last year's flood event – putting the needs of their fellow townspeople first, even though their own homes lay damaged.
Runner up went to Invercargill-based urban regeneration project, South Alive. And the Whetū Mātaiata Award for an up-and-coming group went to special needs support group, Kura Special Ones, representing Wairoa District.