The Apumoana Marae Charitable Trust and the Edgecumbe Development & Improvement Team (EDIT) will represent the Rotorua and Whakatāne districts on a national stage later this month, when voluntary groups from around New Zealand gather in Tauranga for the Trustpower National Community Awards from 29-31 March 2019.

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.

EDIT and the Apumoana Marae Charitable Trust will both give an eight-minute presentation sharing their stories and why they deserve the title of the Trustpower National Community Awards Supreme Winner.

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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 a special award, the Trustpower Award, to a group that embodies one or more of the values the company aspires to. These include the current PRIIDE values, plus a focus on innovation and continuous improvement.

Trustpower Community and Communications Advisor Alice Boyd said the Apumoana Marae Charitable Trust stood out in their local awards for their humble, yet powerful response to the needs of their community.

"The people of Apumoana Marae have a long history of service and support to their people and local community, through the provision of cultural awareness and wellbeing, environment education, tourism, accommodation and iwi/community engagement. Apumoana Marae currently supports a number of activities and groups by providing use of the marae at little or no cost.

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"The maara kai (community garden) they've recently opened invites locals to come and grow their own food, but they say it's more than just growing fruit and veges - it's about self-sustainability. Equally as important, it's reconnecting their people to Papatuanuku (Mother Earth) and teaching the younger generation about their cultural identity through living off the land.

"Having observed the increase of homelessness in Rotorua, they also opened their doors to help some of the most vulnerable members of their community feel welcome and safe."

Boyd also said EDIT stood out in their local awards for their creativity, impact, and input of their volunteers.

"EDIT volunteers undertake projects that not only enhance the town aesthetically, but more importantly promote healing and well-being through engagement with the community.

"Their art project called Te Toi O Patutaatahi - meaning the art of Edgecumbe - aims to engage youth and established artists with the painting of four murals in Edgecumbe's CBD. Another was 'The Willow Tree Beautification Project' with the goal of transforming an old willow tree into an area where the whole community could come together.

"2017 was a difficult year for Edgecumbe and its surrounding communities, however, EDIT also say it was a year of strength and unity as the Edgecumbe Community pulled together to move forward," she said.

Attending the Trustpower National Community Awards from the Apumoana Marae Charitable Trust will be Heidi Symon and Bob Te Aonui, along with Rotorua Lakes mayor, Steve Chadwick, while Helen Morris and Lee Heappey, along with Whakatāne District mayor Tonny Bonne and partner Linda Bonne will represent EDIT.