Virtuoso Strings wins Regional Community Awards

1 Nov 2017

Virtuoso Strings, a life-changing music programme nurturing the talent of Porirua children from low-decile schools, won the Supreme Award at the 2017 Wellington Airport Regional Community Awards last night.

The Virtuoso Strings Charitable Trust programme provides free instruments, tuition, orchestral training and the opportunity to perform and tour. They create a vibrant environment where the youth of Porirua can thrive, realise their immense musical talent, make lifelong friendships, build an enduring sense of self-worth and have a lot of fun.

Elizabeth Sneyd Founder of Virtuoso Strings said “It was truly an honour to be recognised amongst so many amazing groups. Thanks to all the amazing volunteers in our organisation, the parents and the community support. Thank you Wellington Airport and Wellington Community Trust.”

Steve Sanderson, Chief Executive of Wellington Airport, said Virtuoso Strings embodied the spirit of the Regional Community Awards. “The dedicated and passionate volunteers from Virtuoso Strings are breaking down barriers, creating opportunities for the children of Porirua to learn, perform and succeed through music, and in the process, changing young lives.

“We are proud to celebrate the contribution of community group volunteers with the Wellington Airport Regional Community Awards each year. The caliber of finalists was exceptional this year and we congratulate all the winning groups and their volunteers.”

Gerardine Clifford-Lidstone, Chair of Wellington Community Trust said: “The Community Awards offer an opportunity to bring together community groups from across the region to celebrate and reward their achievements. The diversity amongst the finalists is inspiring and heartwarming evidence that there are many people prepared to volunteer their time, creativity and compassion to make life in Wellington better for all of us. The Wellington Community Trust is very pleased to continue to be part of these Awards.”

Wellington Airport also awarded five local high school students $3000 scholarships in the Wild at Heart Spirit Awards. These winners demonstrate self-motivation in service to their community and college.

Wellington Airport Regional Community Awards 2017 Winners

• Supreme Award: Virtuoso Strings

• Arts and Culture: Virtuoso Strings

• Education and Child/Youth Development: Youthline Wellington

• Health and Wellbeing: Foster Hope Charitable Trust

• Heritage and Environment: Rimutaka Forest Park Trust

• Sport and Leisure: Sport Wainuiomata

• Rising Star Award: Coastella

• Special Honourable Mention – Treaty Times 30

Wild at Heart Spirit Award Scholarship recipients:

• Sathvik Panda - Rongotai College

• Lara Najim - St Catherine’s College

• Finn Meredith - St Patrick’s College

• Benjamin Hartfield - Scots College

• Sophie Reedy-Young - Wellington East Girls’ College

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Background on the Community Awards

The Wellington Airport Regional Community Awards begin at the municipal level with the greater Wellington region’s five councils awarding volunteer organisations in their local community under the following categories: Art & Culture, Education and Youth Development. Health and Wellbeing, Heritage and Environment, Sport and Leisure, plus a Rising Star Award.

The finalists from each region then go forward to the Wellington Airport Regional Community Awards in association with Wellington Community Trust for the overall award in their category, and the opportunity to be named Supreme Winner and represent the Wellington Regions at the Trustpower National Community Awards early next year.

Wellington Airport Regional Community Awards 2017 Winners

• Supreme Award: Virtuoso Strings

• Arts and Culture: Virtuoso Strings

• Education and Child/Youth Development: Youthline Wellington

• Health and Wellbeing: Foster Hope Charitable Trust

• Heritage and Environment: Rimutaka Forest Park Trust

• Sport and Leisure: Sport Wainuiomata

• Rising Star Award: Coastella

• Special Honourable Mention – Treaty Times 30

Citations

Art & Culture category winner and Supreme Award – Virtuoso Strings

Virtuoso Strings Charitable Trust run a holistic music programme and orchestra in Porirua. They are creating an environment where the youth of Porirua can thrive, realise their immense musical talent, make lifelong friendships, build an enduring sense of self-worth and have a lot of fun. Awards video

Education & Child/Youth Development category winner – Youthline Wellington

Youthline Wellington’s vision is that every young person in New Zealand has somewhere to turn for support. Through their helpline, education services and youth development programmes they work alongside the community to ensure that young people have an environment where they can thrive. Awards video

Health & Wellbeing category winner – Foster Hope Charitable Trust

Foster Hope Wellington supports the more than 1300 children in foster care in Wellington and the Lower North Island. They make up backpacks containing toiletries and special extras that help children in foster care ease their way into their new surroundings. They believe every foster child deserves to know that their community cares about them. Awards video

Heritage & Environment category winner – Rimutaka Forest Park Trust

Volunteers from all walks of life are committed to the restoration of 7000ha of the Rimutaka Forest Park for the enjoyment of the whole community. The park is given a helping hand through pest control, monitoring of the resident brown kiwi population and planting hundreds of trees. Awards video

Sport & Leisure category winner – Sport Wainuiomata

Sport Wainuiomata is a volunteer-led community group that engages whanau and families in inclusive sports and creative activities. They believe in shifting attitudes and changing behaviors to grow healthier and stronger inclusive communities. Awards video

Rising Star Award winner – Coastella

Coastella is a world class, family friendly, inclusive boutique music festival, that showcases both established and emerging, local and international artists. The Festival nurtures young talent in the Kapiti region through a new Community Music Initiative. Awards video

Special Honourable Mention – Treaty Times 30

The Treaty Times 30 project, celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the NZ Society of Translators and Interpreters. 160 volunteer translators collaborated to translate The Treaty of Waitangi into 30 languages plus NZ Sign Language, publishing the translations in a book gifted freely to New Zealanders. Awards video

$3000 Wild at Heart Spirit Award Scholarship recipients:

• Sathvik Panda - Rongotai College

• Lara Najim - St Catherine’s College

• Finn Meredith - St Patrick’s College

• Benjamin Hartfield - Scots College

• Sophie Reedy-Young - Wellington East Girls’ College

Spirit Award Citations 2017

Sathvik Panda - Rongotai College

Sathvik is a dedicated leader, President of the Interact Club and organiser of the kick-start breakfast programme at Rongotai College. He has volunteered and organised fundraising activity to support more than one hundred charity and community activities; inspiring and engaging other students to get involved in service.

Lara Najim - St Catherine’s College

Lara is an active student leader at St Catherine's College, organising events for the Two Million Trees Projects and Boomerang Bags. She is a Vinnies Lounge after-school programme mentor, and a volunteer tutor at Laulotaha Mentoring Programme, a UN Youth High School Ambassador, and is a Wellington Coordinator of Books for Kids, collecting books for children in foster care.

Finn Meredith - St Patrick’s College

Finn is an enthusiastic leader from St Patrick's College, involved with St Vincent De Paul and the Suzanne Aubert Compassion Centre soup kitchen. He coaches junior swimmers and is head coach of Little Rippers Rugby. A graduate of the National Lifeguard School, Finn put his surf lifesaving training into practise, performing an off-duty rescue of three young boys.

Benjamin Hartfield - Scots College

Benjamin is a passionate Head of Service at Scots College, establishing an Environmental Council at the school, mentoring International students and volunteering at the Kahurangi Breakfast programme. He has led significant fundraisers for Relay for Life, and 40 Hour Famine - raising money for two 'Child Friendly Space Classrooms' in a Syrian Refugee Camp.

Sophie Reedy-Young - Wellington East Girls’ College

Sophie is an inclusive leader at Wellington East Girls' College, with a passion for service including activity as a School Council Prefect and Peer Tutor, and volunteering for Island Bay Marine Education Centre and Wellington SPCA. She serves on the Wellington City Youth Council, and was a member of the first Ronald McDonald Youth Board.