The annual Western Bay Community Awards which recognises the dedicated contribution of voluntary and not-for-profit groups and individuals, have announced the finalists for the 2024 awards, scheduled for March next year.
The Western Bay Community Awards are delivered in partnership between Tauranga and Western Bay’s local funders: Acorn Foundation, BayTrust, Tauranga City Council, TECT Community Trust and Western Bay of Plenty District Council.
Thirty finalists have been announced for the 2024 Western Bay Community Awards, including local youth striving to make a difference, long-serving volunteers, champions of diversity and inclusion and some of the outstanding events held throughout the region in the last 12 months.
The awards host six categories for which over one hundred nominations were received for the outstanding work each nominee has achieved throughout the last year. Event Excellence, Sustainable Future, Diversity and Inclusion, Heart of the Community, Youth Spirit, and Volunteer of the Year are the award categories and all received outstanding nominations. ThePeople’s Choice Award will be run online in February with the winner announced at the awards ceremony, alongside the Lifetime Service Award winner which is chosen from all category nominees.
On Monday evening, a local judging panel considered all nominations across the award categories. Vicki Semple, Sponsorship and Events Manager for Bayleys and EVES Realty said being a judge for the Western Bay Community Awards was an incredible experience.
“The number of quality nominations and the exceptional organisations in our community made it extremely challenging to select the finalists and winners. It is inspiring to see the dedication and hard work of these individuals and groups. I am honoured to be a part of this process.”
“It was great to see a wider range of nominations across all categories compared to previous years, which highlighted the diverse efforts happening throughout the region,” says Semple.
Clare Rodgers, the Manager of PiPS, (People and Plants in Schools ) shares that for the three years PiPS, was nominated, they felt immense privilege as there are so many amazing community members and groups doing amazing things.
“To be thought of in the same vein as those organisations meant the world to us,” says Rodgers, “Then, when we won this year (2023) we were so shocked that we’d been recognised for our work. It’s an incredible feeling when you’re usually in your bubble doing your own thing.”
Jodie Rickard, Community and Strategic Relationships Manager of Western Bay of Plenty District Council, addressed all the nominees for next year’s awards, stating their nomination shows that firstly, they’re doing an outstanding job to provide vibrancy to the community, but also that they provide opportunity and a voice for the area they’re focused on.
“Thank you for being dedicated to your work and for striving to benefit the community to make this region thrive – we are all grateful and appreciative of the differences you make,” says Rickard.
Acorn Foundation Chief Executive Lori Luke says the awards night is a wonderful evening to honour the outstanding efforts of those in our sector, whilst the online showcase allows our community to learn more about the amazing work that organisations scattered throughout the region do every day to make our region better.
The community will be able to learn more about each finalist when the online showcase of all finalists goes live in the new year, consisting of a video introducing all finalists from all award categories. During this time, the community will also have the opportunity to cast their vote in the People’s Choice Award from the full list of finalists.
The finalists for the 2024 Western Bay Community Awards are:
Event Excellence Award
· Anzac Bay Waipaopao Summer Kick-Off Festival
· Flavours of Plenty
· Tauranga Fish & Dive Club – Placemakers Kids Fishing Competition
· Papamoa ‘Light Up the Waterway’ Matariki – Te Ara ō Wairakei Stormwater Trail
· 2023 Zespri AIMS Games
Sustainable Future Award
· ARRC Wildlife Trust
· Live Well Waihi Beach
· Ngapeke Permaculture Project
· Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust
· Taking Back our Beach
Diversity and Inclusion Award
· Bay of Plenty Sports and Cultural Club
· Kai Aroha
· Multicultural Tauranga
· STEAM-ED Charitable Trust
Heart of the Community Award
· Katch Katikati
· Kura Kai
· Tauranga Volunteer Coastguard
· The Incubator Creative Hub
Youth Spirit Award
· Blessing Pasi
· Kate Dekker
· Isla Willacy
· Liam Shanahan
· Mason Bollee
Volunteer of the Year Award
· Aidan Kuka
· Bryan Winters
· Mary Dillon
· Melanie Gearon
· Sam Fellows
Category winners will be announced at the Western Bay Community Awards on Thursday 21 March 2024. All nominees, nominators, and finalists will be invited to the awards early in the new year. To learn more, visit the website here.