Nominations for Pride of New Zealand Awards have closed but Hawke's Bay Today chief reporter Greg Taipari meets another nominee, Gabby Allen.

Bringing up the next generation with community spirit has gained Napier woman Gabby Allen a New Zealand Pride Awards nomination.

About a year ago Mrs Allen started the Facebook page Out and About with Kids in Hawke's Bay. As a mother of a 2-year-old boy, it enabled her coffee group to network online.

"It was a way for my coffee group and friends with children to get support and know what's going on in the area."


Mrs Allen said she was surprised how popular the site became.

"Within five days there were 500 likes and I realised there was a real need for it among young mums and older mums. So it just grew from there."

Now the page has more than 3700 likes. Mrs Allen said people posted questions on the page and those following it supplied answers.

The page was her way to keep the community spirit strong in Hawke's Bay.

"It's bringing up the next generation with community spirit and I just think that's a huge, huge gift you can give your children.

"I'm really proud of it. It just shows there is a need for this sort of online community in a day and age where some communities aren't so strong."

The busy mum has been nominated in the Community Spirit category for Pride of New Zealand for her work on the page.

She said she was surprised and humbled to be nominated.

"I didn't even know about the awards until two days ago. I guess I feel I'm doing my bit for the community. I didn't expect any nomination of any kind."

The Pride of New Zealand Awards is a joint venture with The Hits radio station and TSB Bank, supported by the Herald and APN regional newspapers.

There are six categories honouring bravery and heroism, community spirit, lifetime achievement, emergency services, top fundraisers and those making a difference for the environment.

Mrs Allen's work organising last year's Facebook page campaign, 12 Days Of Giving, has also drawn praise.

The page was set up to help families in need to be able to celebrate Christmas.

"I thought the page would be a great platform for charity work because there is such a great, positive feel on the page.

"So I launched 12 Days Of Giving, basically giving gifts, food and toys."

She hasn't just stopped there, with the page now doing another community drive - Jackets, Jerseys, Jumpers - for June.

"That's been amazing as well. We are just finishing up at the moment and about to start distributing.

"I've tied it in with Live Hawke's Bay: they are a network of community agencies.

"We've been collecting warm winter clothing and shoes at various drop-off points."

Mrs Allen said more than 2000 items of good-quality clothes had been donated and were about to be distributed to those in need.

The feedback she has received about her work had been "amazing".

"People have contacted me to say they have donated things for the first time and that they've got their children involved. "That, to me, is an amazing experience to hear about."

For more information on the awards, visit the official website.