Environmental trust takes out top community award

By Anne-Marie McDonald

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Bushy Park Trust chair, Liz Tennet, at Bushy Park.
Bushy Park Trust chair, Liz Tennet, at Bushy Park.

Bushy Park Trust has won the supreme award at the fourth annual Trustpower Energy Direct Whanganui District Community Awards.

The awards were announced on Monday night at a function at the War Memorial Hall, and presented by Whanganui mayor Annette Main and Peter de Graaf from Trustpower.

Bushy Park Trust chair, Liz Tennet, said the organisation has more than 180 volunteers.

"We're thrilled to be able to say to them, 'Look what we've done'."

Peter Frost from the trust said the win was "totally unexpected".

"I'd like to acknowledge all those people who help maintain one of the finest bits of forest in the southern half of the North Island."

He said Bushy Park had been such a success because it was so loved by the community.

"A couple of years we had a crisis with rats at Bushy Park. The way the community rallied behind us was a credit to Whanganui," Mr Frost said.

For winning the supreme award, Bushy Park Trust received a framed certificate, a trophy and $1,500 prize money. Bushy Park Trust now have the opportunity to represent the district at the 2016 Trustpower National Community Awards, which are being held in Rotorua in March 2017.

More than $5000 was given in prize money to various community group at the awards.

Kathlene Cook from Trustpower said it was "humbling" to be able to acknowledge the Bushy Park Trust.

"Dedicated volunteers spend hours working to conserve this historical showpiece for generations to come. The immense range of work being undertaken, with such a clear goal, and with such a wonderful army of volunteers, is so astonishing," Ms Cook said.

"The work Bushy Park Trust are doing to preserve the Bushy Park area, to look after the animals, to teach our children, to showcase our art and to gain greater understanding of biodiversity is all so important and a massive volunteer undertaking."

Ms Cook said 68 entries were received for this year's awards.

The full list of winners at the awards are:

Heritage and environment
Commendation: Kaumatua Kaunihera o Whanganui
Runner Up: Waimarie Operating Trust
Winner: Bushy Park Trust

Health and Wellbeing
Commendation: Family Crisis Intervention Service
Commendation: Kotuku Foundation Assistance Animals Aotearoa
Runner Up: Friends of the Hospital
Winner: Castlecliff School Breakfast Club Student volunteers

Arts and Culture
Runner Up: Artists Open Studios Whanganui Trust
Winner: Whanganui Musicians Club

Sports & Leisure
Runner Up: Special Olympics
Winner: Wanganui Surf Lifeguard Service

Education & Child Youth Development
Runner Whanganui City College Military Service Academy
Winner: Matai Street Community Gardens

Supreme Winner: Bushy Park Trust

Youth Community Spirit Award
Winner: Hayley McConachy of Whanganui Girls' College
Finalist: Rosie Steuart-Muirhead from Wanganui Collegiate School

- Wanganui Chronicle

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