Gibbston goes for national gong

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A tiny Wakatipu neighbourhood is celebrating its nomination for a top national gong. 

The Gibbston Community Association has been put up for the 2011 Community of the Year category at the prestigious New Zealander of the Year Awards in Auckland next month. 

Association chairwoman Susan Stevens says her group is “overwhelmed” at the news. 

“We only have about 40 households and permanent residents [in Gibbston] so this is a real honour,” Stevens says. “It’s a great boost for everyone who has been working so hard for many years.” 

The group has enjoyed an increased profile recently, with the launch of the $1.4 million Gibbston River Trail last month. 

But Stevens says they’ve provided a number of other community amenities that have also caught the eye of the 
judges. 

Those include a highway rest area, a landscaped community reserve with cricket oval and children’s orchard, a community rubbish and recycling depot, car parking, picnic and toilet facilities at an original goldmining settlement, plus interpretive signage at the historic Rum Currie’s hut. 

At the awards gala function on February 2 – hosted by former Prime Minister Jim Bolger – the local association will compete against Great Barrier Island’s Aotea Family Support Group and the Christchurch Charity Hospital Trust. A handmade trophy and $5000 prize money is up for grabs. 

“It’s thanks to the support of so many people that we’ve been singled out as one of the three nominations and we are very excited that Gibbston is being considered in this league,” Stevens adds.