A Kerikeri-based charity which supports more than 200 families and 1000 children in need around the Mid North each year has been named the supreme winner of the 2017 Trustpower Far North Community Awards.
The Bald Angels Charitable Trust, founded five years ago by Cinema Cafe co-owner Therese Wickbom, took out the top prize in an awards ceremony at Te Ahu in Kaitaia last night.
The charity connects people who want to help others and coalface organisations working with struggling families such as Women's Refuge, police, Plunket, St John, Hospice and others.
The charity's ability to raise funds and enlist support is legendary. In 2015 it set a new world record by persuading 462 people to have their heads shaved in an hour, raising more than $65,000 and leaving a large proportion of the town bald.
It organises a toy drive and food parcels every Christmas, grows fresh veges and make plots available for family use at the Kerikeri Community Garden, supports terminally ill children and their families, runs art workshops, provides warm clothing for children of struggling families, and more.
Trustpower community relations representative Abbie Siely said the Bald Angels stood out for their collaborative, multi-faceted approach to community care.
"Bald Angels contributes to the wellbeing of more than 200 families and 1000 local children every year through fundraising events that bring the community together in the spirit of generosity and goodwill ... It acts as a conduit between members of the public who have a desire to help others and the organisations that encounter hardship and trauma on a daily basis," she said.
"The premise is simple enough - collect goods from those who are able to give and redistribute them to those in need via organisational touchpoints - but the impact has been huge."
The Bald Angels took home $1500 and will represent the Far North in the national finals in Queenstown next April.
The Far North has a strong record in the finals with Focus Paihia taking out the national title in 2014 and the Bay of Islands Vintage Railway Trust in 2011. Earlier this year Paihia-based conservation group Bay Bush Action came second overall.
And the winners are ...
Supreme winner: Bald Angels Charitable Trust
Youth community spirit award: Aliesha Whitehead. Runner-up: Shaniah Flood; finalists: Te Amohaere Rudolph, Lukas George.
Heritage and Environment: Far North SPCA. Runner-up: Friends of Rangikapiti; commendation: Kaitaia War Memorial Restoration Group.
Health and Wellbeing: Bald Angels Charitable Trust. Runner-up: Russell St John Health Shuttle; commendation: Whare Timatatanga Hou Ora/Kaitaia Women's Refuge.
Arts and Culture: Kerikeri International Piano Competition. Runner-up: Mangonui Courthouse Preservation Society.
Sports and Leisure: Kaitaia Basketball Association. Runner-up: Taipa Sailing Club.
Education and Child/Youth Development: Bay of Islands Coastguard. Runner-up: Spoken Word Kaitaia.