Ōrongomai Marae received a standing ovation when they were announced as supreme winner for Upper Hutt at last night’s
Wellington Airport Regional Community Awards for 2021.
Every year, Wellington International Airport, Wellington Community Trust, and the five local councils hold the awards to
recognise the work carried out by community groups in the wider Wellington region. The focus of the awards is to
celebrate community groups for their valuable contribution to society. The awards are celebrated first in the local
Council areas and culminate in a combined event where awards are then presented at a regional level.
74 Nominations were received for Upper Hutt throughout 6 categories. The 6 category winners will go on to attend the
combined event and regional awards in November.
“We are incredibly thankful for our volunteers, without them, many opportunities and services that we have in our
community would cease to exist,” said Upper Hutt Mayor, Wayne Guppy. “These awards are one of my favourite events of the
year as they acknowledge the hard work that our volunteers do, and provide us with an opportunity to thank them for
their wonderful and selfless contribution to our city. We are very lucky to have them!”
Ōrongomai Marae is a vibrant, multifaceted centre for the delivery of social services. Ōrongomai welcomes anyone who
needs its services and those who want to manaaki others, often because they’ve received help themselves. The kaupapa is
non-judgemental, reciprocal, and proudly Māori—a tikanga strengthened by its multicultural origins. During COVID-19
restrictions back in March/April 2020, Ōrongomai Marae became aware of emerging and increased needs within its
community, requiring staff to reset and re-think. A ‘Kai bank’ was scaled up to provide support and assistance to those that were unable to access essential items like food, medical
prescriptions, etc. The marae was able to distribute over 2700 food parcels through April and May 2020, and
significantly more in the months that followed.
2021 category winners for Upper Hutt are as follows.
Arts & Culture
· Winner: Heretaunga Players
· Runner-up: Writer’s Plot Bookshop.
Education & Youth Development
· Winner: YMCA – Raise Up
· Runner-up: Te Whare Tane
Health & Wellbeing
· Winner: Ōrongomai Marae
· Runner-up: Upper Hutt Autism Group
Heritage & Environment
· Winner: Urban Wildlife Trust
· Runner-up: Upper Hutt Repair Café Trust
Sports & Leisure
· Winner: Community Sports Bank
· Runner-up: Assisted Golf (Dementia Wellington/The Royal Wellington Golf Club)
· Winner: Food 4 Thought
· Runner-up: Ellie’s Canine Rescue & Rehome