In what has been an unforgettable year for all the wrong reasons, tonight’s Gore District Community Awards were a resounding display of community strength and resilience.
The 2020 awards were always going to be different from previous years, given the District has endured one of its worst floods in decades, as well as a global pandemic and the ensuing COVID-19 lockdown.
Gore district events coordinator Mishel Kaaplan said once the Council knew it could actually hold the awards with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, it was decided to make the evening extra special.
“We still wanted to acknowledge the personal achievements of those in our community.
“However, we also wanted the evening to be about thanking and honouring our local heroes from the February floods, and our essential workers who put their community’s needs ahead of their own in challenging times.“
The awards, held at the Gore Town and Country Club stadium before a capacity crowd of about 500 people, also included a showcase of some of the local events cancelled this year due to COVID-19.
“The organisers of the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards, Tussock Country, Gore Musical Theatre and the Hokonui Culture Feast have gone above and beyond to deliver a visual feast.”
Miss Kaaplan acknowledged the generous sponsorship of long time and new sponsors, given the tough times brought about by COVID-19.
“We wanted to make the awards accessible to everyone. Thanks to our sponsors we were able to offer tickets at under half the price of previous years.”
Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks said it had been heart-warming to see the community come together for such a celebration after what has been an extremely testing year.
“I am always proud of our District and our people. Tonight has just reaffirmed what a truly amazing place it is we live in.”
The Gore District Community Awards encompasses all sectors of the community, and as such would be one of the few events of its type in New Zealand. Even after so long, it continues to evolve and go from strength to strength, Mr Hicks said.
This year’s award winners were:
- Anderson Lloyd Contribution to Arts and Culture: Callum Harvey & Steve Hamlin
- Sport Southland Community Coach of the Year: Mariano Garcia-Nani
- Soroptimist International of Gore Woman of the Year: Bernadette Hunt
- JD Souness Young Achiever of the Year: Max Balloch
- Otago Daily Times & The Ensign Services to Sport: Rochelle Weller
- Gore Musical Theatre Emerging Performing Artist: Ella Cupit
- Gore District Mayoral Civic Award recipients: Daryl & Marita Soper
The Gore District Community Awards are sponsored by:
- Mataura Valley Milk
- Ian & Annette Tulloch
- Anderson Lloyd
- Sport Southland
- Soroptimist International of Gore
- JD Souness
- Otago Daily Times & The Ensign
- Gore Musical Theatre
- Lotto NZ
- Community Trust South
- Alliance in association with Bidfood Invercargill
- Villa Maria
- DB Breweries