Auckland – The small central plateau town of Turangi has beaten New Zealand’s biggest cities to win the best community event at the New Zealand event awards tonight.
The town’s Christmas in the Park concert received the prestigious award at the New Zealand Association of Event Professionals (NZAEP) annual awards at the Auckland Museum events centre.
Turangi’s 50th Jubilee Christmas in the Park concert attracted more than 5500 people, double the town’s population. Kiwi singer Stan Walker was the star billing. The judges say the Christmas concert showed strong planning by making the event for the community and engaging spectators in a survey.
The Safe Turangi Committee identified four years ago that Turangi needed more activities that celebrated the town in a more positive capacity. Since its inception, the Christmas concert has grown in numbers, support and capacity to provide a sense of belonging in the community.
NZAEP chief executive Vicki Watson says the fact that the event is organised by a team of dedicated volunteers and young people contributed to the successful event providing community cohesion, identify and pride.
“The event’s primary sponsors Tuwharetoa Maori Trust Board and Taupo District Council enabled a live performance from one of New Zealand’s biggest entertainers, Stan Walker, who was a major draw card for the event attracting visitors from the Auckland, Wellington, Bay of Plenty, Manawatu and Waikato regions.
“Walker was accompanied by his professional dancers who acted alongside him in the newly released NZ film Born to Dance. Turangi’s own superstar Jackson Owens also appeared during a short home break from recording his new album with US boy band Far Young.
“The survey feedback received was phenomenal with many noting how proud they were to be from Turangi. This project benefitted all sectors of the community particularly during Christmas time, where families and individuals are often challenged to meet day to day living cost on top of additional Christmas expenditure. To be able to provide an event of this calibre for free at this time of the year is hugely beneficial for families who struggle the most.”
Organisations involved included the local council, Turangi Bluelight, Turangi Fire Brigade, Turangi Police, MICamp Youth Leadership, Go Tongariro, Turangi St Johns, Tuwharetoa FM, Ngati Turangitukua, Turangi Tongariro Community Board, Tuwharetoa Maori Trust Board and Safe Turangi. Participation and support extended to schools, early childhood centres, sporting clubs and local retailers and businesses.
Other finalists were Christchurch’s Champion Canterbury Business Awards, the Hororata Highland Games, the Takapuna Beach run, swim and paddle series and Auckland Council’s summer Music and Movies in Parks events.
The judging panel included Tourism NZ chief executive Kevin Bowler, Creative NZ chief executive Stephen Wainwright, NZ Media and Entertainment chief executive Michael Boggs, Eventfinda chief executive James McGlinn and head of NZ Operations for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Dame Therese Walsh.
NZAEP chief executive Vicki Watson says the community events category attracted the most entries and provided one of the toughest competitions in the awards.
NZAEP was set up 10 years ago to advocate for the burgeoning events sector in New Zealand. The annual awards aim to establish excellence in benchmarking the industry, judging not just what the event is, but how it was run.
For further information contact NZAEP chief executive Vicki Watson on 027 5376088 or Make Lemonade media specialist Kip Brook on 0275 030188.
Photo: Turangi Christmas in the Park