Maketu Volunteer Coastguard and Under the Stars - Homeless in Tauranga will represent the region on a national stage later this month, when voluntary groups from around New Zealand gather in Tauranga for the Trustpower National Community Awards from March 29 to 31.

Joining them will be representatives from 25 other voluntary groups and organisations who were all named Supreme Winner at their respective regional Trustpower Community Awards.

Everyone will compete for the title of Trustpower National Community Awards Supreme Winner.

Maketu Volunteer Coastguard and Under the Stars will both give an eight-minute presentation sharing their stories, and why they deserve the title of the Trustpower National Community Awards Supreme Winner.


Some of the guest judges this year include Rhodes Scholar and 2017 runner-up in the NZ Youth Volunteer of the Year Awards, Johann Go, co-founder of Good Neighbour, Cam Hill, GM of Tauranga Women's Refuge, Hazel Hape, and previous National Supreme Winner, Bruce Knight, from the Edgecumbe Volunteer Fire Brigade.

The presentations will take place on Saturday March 30 at Holy Trinity Tauranga.

The winner, runner-up and recipient of the Whetū Mātaiata Award will then be announced at an awards dinner that evening at Mills Reef.

This year Trustpower will also be presenting the Trustpower Award to a group that embodies one or more of the values the company aspires to. These include the current P.R.I.I.D.E values (passion, respect, integrity, innovation, delivery, empower), plus a focus on continuous improvement.

Trustpower Community and Communications Advisor Abbie Siely says Maketu Volunteer Coastguard received recognition in their local compeition for their efforts to fundraise for a new emergency rescue boat.

"Maketu Volunteer Coastguard has devoted a considerable amount of time and energy to fundraising for a new emergency rescue boat. The achievement is particularly noteworthy because it was accomplished in addition to the group's regular work educating the community about water safety and providing support services. Coastguard runs local education events to empower people to take charge of their own safety at sea. For example, teaching boaties how to safely cross the bar. This annual event is in its fourth year, is completely free of charge, and has undoubtedly prevented accidents," Siely said.

She also said Under the Stars stood out at their local awards for their contribution to the welfare of Tauranga's most vulnerable.

"Under the Stars tackles the challenging, emotional and often undiscussed issue of homelessness head on, offering practical assistance paired with kindness and compassion to people who have found themselves in a situation many of us couldn't imagine. Every Saturday night volunteers collect donated foods and put together a hot meal. Guests are offered showers – sometimes their only one for the week. They receive fresh drinking water to take away, socks, toiletries and sleeping bags. We're excited to have this compassionate group of superstars representing Tauranga at these national awards," she said.

Attending the awards from Maketu Volunteer Coastguard will be Geoff Oliver and Shane Beech, along with Western Bay of Plenty District Mayor Garry Webber and his wife Carole Webber.

The Under the Stars - Homeless in Tauranga representatives will be Liz Kite and Tamaryn Roux, along with Tauranga District Mayor Greg Brownless and his wife Li-Jong Liao.