3/04/2019 11:00:00 a.m.
Trustpower General Manager of Customer Operations Fiona Smith, Mayor Hamish McDouall, Rawi Minarapa, Carlos Rippon, Trust Chair Rosemary Rippon and Trustpower Chief Executive Vince Hawksworth
3 April 2019
Last weekend the Matipo Community Development Charitable Trust from Castlecliff, Whanganui, scooped the Supreme Winner award at the Trustpower National Community Awards, which is New Zealand’s biggest celebration of volunteer groups.
After a full day of viewing presentations from 26 community groups from around the country, the decision was made by a panel of independent judges along with each of the contesting groups. Trust Chair Rosemary Rippon says, “The fact that the overall winners are endorsed by their peers makes this award all the more special. The work done by volunteers across New Zealand is really impressive”.
The Matipo Community Development Charitable Trust is a not-for-profit organisation which is dedicated to initiating social change through education and employment.
The vision began with Craig Rippon in 2013. Wayne ‘Chopper’ Temoananui who was involved with implementing the initiative says the original idea was to make young people in their community “feel that they’re part of something, and to let them know that if they can achieve this here they can achieve out there in the world”.
After Craig’s tragic death in 2015 the community worked hard to keep his vision going. The group of volunteers has transformed a swampy wasteland once covered in blackberry, gorse, lupins and weeds into a cultivated community gardens area, which provides food for locals and is a hub for literacy and horticulture education.
Carlos Rippon says many of the people who come through the Matipo Street gardens have literacy issues. “We treat it like a family here – you sit in the classroom all day and you actually work with them one-on-one, man, you can find the issue. And you can address it, which is the best part”.
The group was represented at the awards in Tauranga by Carlos Rippon, Rosemary Rippon and Mayor Hamish McDouall. They received $4,000 prize money, a trophy and a certificate.
Mayor McDouall says he is “so proud of the Trust for all their hard work and overcoming obstacles. It was great to tautoko them onstage in Tauranga over the weekend. This is a real Whanganui story of a grassroots community group changing lives in their neighbourhood and beyond”.