Attending the 2017 Trustpower National Community Awards Dinner was full of inspiration for one of Rotorua's volunteer groups.

The Rotorua Museum "Outside the Walls" Walking Tour Guides represented Rotorua at the awards – an honour they won after being named supreme winner at the Trustpower Rotorua Lakes Community Awards last year.

"Outside the Walls" Walking Tours were created the day Rotorua Museum was forced to close due to earthquake damage in November 2016, and quickly evolved into twice daily free tours of Government Gardens.

The awards were announced on Saturday night at the Kawarau Bungy Centre in Queenstown.


Joining them were representatives from 24 voluntary groups from around the country which were also named supreme winner at their respective regional Trustpower Community Awards.

Each finalist group gave an eight minute presentation sharing their story before the national supreme winner was announced during the awards dinner that night.

Rotorua Museum volunteer guide co-ordinator Julie Parsons, volunteer Heather Willis and Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick attended the national awards ceremony.

Parsons said it was a fabulous weekend and there were amazing people from all over New Zealand to meet and be inspired by.

"It's a great acknowledgement of all the work our volunteers do. It's hard to say thank you to volunteers well and this opportunity Trustpower gives us is an amazing way to do it."

She said their presentation went well, and they included their video clip of Rolling in a Thermal Wonderland from Christmas in 2016, which was well received.

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"It was a great opportunity to showcase the Bath House and garden and the history of the area."

Parsons said it was great to see The Edgecumbe Volunteer Fire Brigade, representing Whakatane District, take out Supreme Winner.

The Edgecumbe Volunteer Fire Brigade, representing the Whakatane district, have been named supreme winners at the Trustpower National Community Awards. Photo/Supplied
The Edgecumbe Volunteer Fire Brigade, representing the Whakatane district, have been named supreme winners at the Trustpower National Community Awards. Photo/Supplied

The brigade was represented at the awards by Bruce Knight and Tracey Lloyd, along with mayor Tony Bonne.

The group of highly-trained volunteers pledged round-the-clock support to their community in times of need.

In the days and weeks following the Edgecumbe floods last year, members logged thousands of hours getting their community back on its feet.

The brigade received a custom-made trophy, $4000 in prize money, a $1000 Exult voucher and a framed certificate.

Trustpower community and communications manager Emily Beaton said the Edgecumbe Volunteer Fire Brigade had a heart-felt presentation about their resilient community and the hard work of its volunteers.

"These everyday heroes show commitment, comraderie and support which are the key ingredients for a strong community."

Parsons said "Outside the Walls" Walking Tours would still take place over the winter, and they did an on-board coach tour if the weather was bad.

"We tour a lot of internationals and they say amazing things like, 'This is the best thing I've done in New Zealand so far'.

"But for locals it's a great way to learn a bit more about the history of our area."

Parsons also encouraged other local volunteer groups to have a go at entering the regional Trustpower Community Awards - "It's a lovely way to get recognised and get together with other volunteer organisations in Rotorua".

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said they could all learn from other volunteer groups.

"Hearing about the wonderful things they are doing gives us ideas for our district."

The tours have ensured the sharing of stories about Rotorua's unique environment, people, and the historic Bath House building has continued.

Parsons is looking for more guides and has a training programme starting in May.

"They just need to be passionate about people and history."

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