The finalists for the 2021 TECT Community Awards have been announced.
The awards, which will be held at Baycourt Community and Arts Centre on 18 March, will celebrate the community groups, volunteers and young changemakers who are helping make the Western Bay of Plenty one of the greatest places to live.
Finalists will be vying for six main awards: Event Excellence, Sustainable Future, Diversity and Inclusion, Rising Star, Youth Spirit and Volunteer of the Year. A Lifetime Service Award and People's Choice Award will also be announced on the night of the awards.
The People's Choice Award is a new award category for the year, with the community able to select their favourite finalist. Voting will open in February on the TECT website.
The judging panel made up of community representatives Allison Stewart, Carlo Ellis and Paul Geoghegan reviewed an overwhelming number of high calibre nominations across all categories.
Stewart says the panel was inspired by the incredible work being done in our community.
"As we put 2020 behind us, it's a great time to recognise and celebrate the volunteers and community groups who helped us get through the year. We are lucky to have so many of them building a brighter future for our region; whether that be through engaging events, impactful initiatives, or countless volunteer hours.
"Looking through all the nominations was truly inspirational. Congratulations to all the nominees and finalists – your contribution to our community is something to be applauded."
Western Bay of Plenty Mayor Garry Webber says that the individuals and groups from the Western Bay reflect the depth of community spirit in the Western Bay.
"With the year we have just all been through, it is heartening to see so many people put themselves forward and put community first.
"The diversity of finalists shows how our communities are changing – our population is becoming more diverse, events are becoming more innovative, and our young people are being encouraged to set their path for the future. The finalist list also reflects the focus on improving the environment that so many of us treasure in this region."
Tauranga Acting Mayor Tina Salisbury says the awards exemplify what makes the Western Bay a wonderful place to live.
"In many respects, the strength of a community is measured by the diversity and depth of its voluntary sector," she says. "We're very fortunate to have so many people who are prepared to devote their time and energy to activities which enrich our region and help meet the needs of residents who need support from time to time."
The finalists for the TECT Community Awards are:
Event Excellence Award
- A Night Before Christmas
- Escape! Festival
- Groundswell Festival of Innovation
- Leisure Marching North Island Display Day
- Tauranga Christmas in the Park
Sustainable Future Award
- Environmental Education for Resource Sustainability Trust (EERST)
- Garden to Table - Oropi School
- PiPS - People, Plants, Schools
- Tauranga Men's Shed
- Te Puna Quarry Park Society
Diversity and Inclusion Award
- Gurdwara Sikh Sangat Tauranga
- Mockingbird Charitable Trust
- Nepalese Association in BOP
- Sailability Tauranga
Rising Star Award
- Bay of Plenty Youth Development Trust
- True Colours - Honouring the Mother
- Venture Centre
- Your Garden: Children's Therapy Garden
Youth Spirit Award
- Baylee Dyer
- Courtney Bignell
- Ethan Milsom
- Frances Mole
- Shuari Naidoo
Volunteer of the Year Award
- Barry Pethybridge
- Dulcie Artus
- Francis Orr
- Mike Christian
- Sibylle Steppat
Winners will be announced at the TECT Community Awards Thursday 18 March 2021, with a showcase of all finalists also hosted online on the TECT Facebook in the weeks leading up to the event. All nominees, nominators, and finalists will be invited early next year. To learn more, visit www.tect.org.nz/community-awards.