Patea group finalists for awards

A group of Patea battlers have been recognised for their community work and have been nominated as a finalist in the Community of the Year Awards.

The Patea Youth Trust seeks solutions to the issues that have affected the community since the town's freezing works closed in the 1980s.

The trustees have been involved with the Mayor's Task Force, looking for solutions to youth problems, initiating a Mum, Dads and Bubs programme, arranging education in budgeting and social workers certificate training, and is currently in talks with St John to provide accommodation for cadetship training.

They have also set up a study group to support students doing distance

The awards are part of the prestigious New Zealander of the Year Awards, sponsored by Fairfax Media.

In the major section, a Wellington doctor pioneering ground- breaking medical procedures, a former homeless man helping disadvantaged Christchurch teens, a Hamilton volunteer and a tiny Southland community turning their town around are personalities nominated for the main award.

It is a shortlist winnowed from a record number of 700 nominations received for the fourth year of the awards programme.

The number of nominees and the calibre of the semifinalists shows the country is filled with inspirational people, say the award judges.

"All have been judged to be extraordinary individuals and community groups making a positive difference to New Zealand and often also to the world at large," said the judges.

Judges include former Prime Minister Jim Bolger, former Olympian Beatrice Faumuina, business leaders Sir Roderick Deane, Jenny Morel, Joanne McRae and Michelle Hippolite, and ambassadors for charities Dame Rosie Horton, Lianne Clarke and Bob Kerridge.

The list of semifinalists will be further cut down next month to three finalists in each of the five award categories. The overall winners will be announced at a gala event in February.

The prestigious New Zealander of the Year is awarded to someone who has made a major contribution to the nation, given outstanding service to the country and inspired through achievement.

Semifinalists include: Professor Charles Daugherty, Kim Workman, Professor Swee T Tan, Bill Buckley, Hinewehi Mohi, Dame Anne Salmond, David Irving and Jeanette Richardson.

The Senior New Zealander of the Year award celebrates ongoing achievement for those aged 60 and over who have made a major difference to New Zealand.

Semifinalists include: Kieth Beck, Julie and Roy Bartlett, Ian Grant, Marcia Read, Gary Daverne, Thilliar Varnakulasingham, Sister Felix Breen and Garth McVicar.

The Young New Zealander of the Year recognises 15 to 30-year- olds making a positive impact on the nation.

Semifinalists include Assil Russell, Damyon New, Sophie Pascoe, Victoria Taylor, Lydia Ko, Sam Judd, Jordon Taylor, Shruthi Vigayakumar, William Zhang and Sam Shore.

Community of the Year acknowledges groups working together up and down the country to build stronger communities.

Semifinalists include UN Youth New Zealand, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Trust NZ, The Hawea Community Association, the Mataura Community, the Hokitika Community and the Kaikoura Seafest, Uawa - Tolaga Bay, the Hawkes Leaders Group, Eketahuna Our Town and the Patea Youth Trust.

The Local Heroes Award recognises everyday people doing extraordinary things in their local communities.

The semifinalists include Jade Temepara of Ashburton, Paul Hughes of Halcombe, Des Smith of Wellington, Kaila Colblin of Christchurch, Scott Gilmour, of Auckland, Paddy Henderson of Rangiora, Jim Morunga of Napier, Jim Dowman of Tauranga, Douglas Cooper of Gisborne and Vivien Leonard of Paeroa.

Already 180 Local Heroes medals have been awarded to a shortlist of nominees earlier this month. Fairfax NZ

Taranaki Daily News