Rarangi's popular playground a winner
The Rarangi District Residents' Association was named the top community group in the region at the TrustPower Marlborough Community Awards in Blenheim last night.
The residents' association, which is made up of more than 250 households, was awarded $1500 for winning the top spot and will go on to represent Marlborough at the 2012 TrustPower national awards in March.
The association helped build a playground near the community hall last year that was so popular that it decided to create an extended recreation area by adding a pump bike track through the pines.
Association member Sarah Gray said the playground and track had been a massive project but definitely worth it.
"I feel like we won already," she said. "I live in the greatest place."
The adventure bike track, known as Taniwha Trail, is a long winding track through the trees, and was largely funded by Marlborough District Council.
The pump track, where the rider gets momentum by pumping the handlebars, was opened in June.
"It's fabulous, you go down in the weekend and people are all over it," Mrs Gray said.
"It was a big process, just massive. Everyone got so into it."
Senior pupils at Tua Marina School soon became the official track caregivers, and would soon be consulted on how to spend the prize money, she said. A mini pump track for children, a bike school day and a picnic area were some of the ideas already floated.
Fifty community and volunteer organisations were nominated for the awards, which recognised work under five categories: heritage and environment, health and wellbeing, arts and culture, sport and leisure, and education and youth development. Each category winner received $500 and runners-up were given $250.
Marlborough Boys' College student Leatham Landon-Lane won the TrustPower Youth Community Spirit Award, for service to the school and the community.
The year-13 student has been a librarian all through college, taking on the role as head librarian this year, as well as being a member of the college environment council, the student council and the 40-hour famine committee.
For the past two years he has been president of the school's Leo Club, and was a member of the first XI cricket team, cycling team, as well as captain of the cycling and multisport team.
"It's pretty big," he said, of receiving the award.
"I enjoy helping other people, and I try to encourage others to help out as well."
He won $500 prize money, half of which was donated to Marlborough Crossroads, and the other half will go towards his engineering studies at Canterbury University next year.
Jacques Breedt, from Rai Valley Area School, and Olivia Sheat, from Marlborough Girls' College, were finalists for the award.
Heritage and environment: Marlborough Falcon Conservation Trust 1, Renwick Museum and Watson Memorial Library and The Edwin Fox Museum 2nd equal.
Health and wellbeing: Marlborough Newcomers Network 1, Marlborough Community Foodbank 2, Presbyterian Support Volunteer Service commended.
Arts and culture: Picton Maritime Festival Trust 1, Marlborough Youth Orchestra and Marlborough Creative Fibre Guild 2nd equal.
Sport and leisure: Marlborough Riding for the Disabled 1, Ride On Marlborough 2.
Educational and youth development: St John Blenheim Youth 1, Nativity Youth Community 2, Foundation for Youth Development commended.
- The Marlborough Express