On her way home yesterday, the chairwoman of a Whanganui trust still couldn't quite believe it was the supreme winner at the Trustpower National Community Awards.
The Matipo Community Development Charitable Trust (MCDCT) received $4000 and a trophy for the win. Members had travelled to Tauranga to compete, and were among 26 groups who gave presentations and summaries of their work before judges.
Matipo chairwoman Rosemary Rippon got to hear about groups doing "absolutely amazing" things across the country.
"The fact that we scooped this still just blows me away. I don't even know what to say. It's just all a bit surreal," she said.
The trust works in education and employment, Trustpower community manager Emily Beaton said. It encourages young people to make better decisions and realise their potential.
It has two courses under way at the moment, Rippon said. One is in horticulture and feeds into the trust's community garden in Matipo St.
It's looking "pretty amazing" at the moment.
""They say the Matipo Community Gardens have become a hub for the wider community to gather and harvest healthy food to feed their families and it is now commonplace to see visitors from all walks of life engaging with the students, picking vegetables and generally keeping an eye on progress," Beaton said.
The trust is looking to run a evening class in te reo Māori for six weeks next term, Rippon said, something it has wanted to do for a long time.
It has other projects simmering as well.
One is a joint working bee with a Rotary group to clear weeds and extend its horticultural activities "beyond the fence" at Matipo St. Another is some work for the Whanganui District Council that the trust could do in Castlecliff.
It has also been looking to buy the house it has been using, at 59 Matipo St. And it has been fundraising for a ride-on lawnmower to use at the gardens.
Any of these things could take a while to happen, Rippon said.
"Things move slowly, apart from Trustpower awards, and it's still early days for a lot of this."
Trust members are mindful the foundation for their work was laid by the late Craig Rippon, Rosemary's brother. After his death his son Carlos "picked up the ball and ran with it".
"It's really Carlos that's the key player," his aunt said.