Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty residents now have the annual opportunity to recognise the dedication of their local voluntary groups - with entries for community awards now open.

The Trustpower Tauranga Community Awards and Trustpower Western Bay of Plenty Community Awards are independently run in partnership with the Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty District Councils, and are open to all voluntary groups and organisations working to make their community a better place to live.

Anyone can enter a voluntary group or organisation for the Trustpower Community Awards - voluntary groups and organisations can even enter themselves.

Tauranga City Mayor Staurt Crosby said volunteers were central to hundreds of community group's right across the Tauranga region.


"It's incredible just how much volunteers contribute to this community and how better off we are for their efforts. From running social programmes to helping people keep fit to enhancing our heritage - volunteers are everywhere", Mr Crosby said.

Western Bay of Plenty Mayor Ross Paterson said with the number of volunteers in the region people had a lot to be grateful for.

"It's important we do say 'thanks' to those who do so much for the community, and the reality is we are all affected by volunteers in some way", Mr Paterson said.

Trustpower community relations representative Emily Beaton said ''voluntary groups are a formidable force of good and everyday members benefit from their hard work''.

''From the teams that work behind the scenes at community events to the supportive coaches on the side-lines to the tireless fundraising teams; volunteers are in every corner of this region but often they are not recognised for the invaluable work they do.''

People have until 5pm on Friday, July 1, to get entries in for this year's Trustpower Community Awards. Entry Forms are available from council offices or service centres or can be completed online at www.trustpower.co.nz/communityawards. Entry Forms can also be received by calling Emily Beaton on 0800 87 11 11 extension 4310.

The awards cover five categories; Heritage and Environment, Health and Wellbeing, Arts and Culture, Sport and Leisure, and Education and Child/Youth Development. Category winners receive $500, runners-up receive $250 and the Supreme Winner will take home $1,500 and an all-expenses paid trip for two representatives to the 2016 Trustpower National Community Awards. Last year's Tauranga Supreme Winner was Tauranga House of Science and in the Western Bay of Plenty it was the Athenree Homestead Trust.