Eco trust earns top accolade

30/08/2012 13:01


Wednesday, 29 August 2012
By Geoff Mercer

WINNING TRUST: Manawahe Ecological Trust executive officer Natasja Boon and secretary Janet Milbank at the trust’s community centre – formerly Manawahe School. C4873-09
WINNING TRUST: Manawahe Ecological Trust executive officer Natasja Boon and secretary Janet Milbank at the trust’s community centre – formerly Manawahe School. C4873-09

MANAWAHE Eco Trust has been named the supreme winner at an awards ceremony held to celebrate the achievements of community groups throughout the Whakatane district.
The trust promotes and protects biodiversity within a land corridor stretching from Lake Rotoma to the sea.
The achievement was recognised last night at the inaugural TrustPower Whakatane District Community Awards, held at the Whakatane Little Theatre.
The trust received $1500, a trophy and an all expenses paid trip to the TrustPower National Community Awards, to be held in the Far North District in March 2013.
TrustPower community relations co-ordinator Suzi Luff said Manawahe Eco Trust was originally formed to protect the endangered kokako.
It also improves biodiversity in native forest on private land at Manawahe. Volunteers carry out pest control and provide advice and information to landowners.
The trust’s commitment extends to environmental education and it recently secured the Manawahe School premises, where an ecology centre is being established.
Miss Luff said the trust organised a rabbit hunt, held an “Eat a Pest” dinner party, staged a Pierce Brothers concert and held a mountainbike race.
An adventure race in September would bring the community closer together, create more awareness and fundraise to achieve the trust’s goals.
“As you can see, Manawahe Eco Trust is doing a super job of engaging the community through their shared and vested interests in the land corridor,” she said.
Five category winners were chosen from among the 58 entries.
Since November 2011 the Edgecumbe Development and Improvement Team (EDIT) has cleaned up Riverslea Mall gardens, worked on the Rangitaiki River Walkway and created an attractive town entrance.
The group’s endeavours won it the heritage and environment award. Runner-up was the Whakatane Kiwi Trust, which maintains 85 kilometres of trap lines covering 4500 hectares of reserves and private land. Hospice Eastern Bay won the health and wellbeing category.
Miss Luff said 100 trained volunteers supported the hospice to deliver palliative care to the terminally ill and already this year it had provided services to 250 patients.
Bethel House, which helps men struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, gambling, legal problems or relationship issues, was runner-up, with Eastern Bay Riding for the Disabled’s provision of therapeutic interaction for people with physical or intellectual disabilities earning a commendation.
Theatre Whakatane won the arts and culture category for the amalgamated group’s regular staging of two shows a year, plus its annual Santa Variety Concert.
Runner-up was Arts Whaka-tane, formerly the Whakatane District Community Arts Council.
Onepu Community Recre-ation Park won the sports and leisure award for providing over the past 12 months a new recreational asset comprising 11 kilometres of mountainbike and walking tracks, and over the past five years enhancing a wetland and native forest by transforming it into a multi-faceted recreation park.
Coastguard Whakatane, the largest coastguard unit in the country, was judged runner-up.
Whakatane St John Youth Division took out the education and child youth development section, with 35 Squadron Whakatane air Training Corps the runner-up and Whakatane Astronomical Society, operating three telescopes in two observatories, commended.