Invercargill’s Queens Park has been once again nationally recognised, taking out the Outstanding Park award at the 2021 Recreation Aotearoa Recreation Awards, held online on Wednesday, April 6.
The award was one of five picked up by Invercargill City Council and other Southland organisations at the national awards event that recognises individuals, organisations, programmes and facilities that have made exceptional contributions to improving recreation and sport for New Zealanders.
Invercargill City Council Group Manager Leisure and Recreation Steve Gibling said the win cements Queens Park and the Parks team as leaders in their field.
“Coming off our win at the Beautiful Awards, this is just fantastic,” Mr Gibling said.
“Recognition received by your industry peers is often the best form of recognition. For our spaces, our plans and our people to be recognised last night at the national awards was just great.”
Council’s Tree Plan also won Outstanding Research, Policy & Planning. This award is for an applied work in research, policy development or planning that has relevancy and currency for the recreation industry.
“As a city we’ve got an amazing set of assets and opportunities to engage in recreation and play, and it’s thanks to a small and dedicated bunch of people and with the support of an entire community that we have these on our doorstep. It is a fantastic way to highlight the brilliant work these teams do.”
Harakeke Down South, Murihiku Matariki Festival, held at Queens Park in 2021, also won Outstanding Event in a category packed with exceptional events from throughout the country. Invercargill City Councillor Nigel Skelt was honoured for his role as general manager of the ILT Stadium with the Paul Stuart Memorial Award, and Active Southland’s Chief Executive Brendon McDermott was awarded the Mark Mitchell Memorial Trophy.
Mr Skelt said the awards were a great night of success for Invercargill.
“I am extremely humbled by the award but the real accolades belong with my staff who simply make it so easy to navigate the ship. Their enthusiasm, dedication and loyalty has been infectious.”
Mr McDermott said it was great to see the recreation sector in Southland receiving recognition at a national level.
“There are some really talented people who have been working exceptionally hard to ensure Southlanders are able to live more active lives. It’s an honour to win the Mark Mitchell Memorial Trophy, but the plaudits really belong to my team and the stakeholders we work with,” he said.
Invercargill City Council was also nominated in the Outstanding Community Recreation Programme category for its ILT Learn to Swim programme at Splash Palace, in the Outstanding Project category for the project to revitalise the city’s war memorials, and in the Outstanding Research, Policy and Planning category for Council’s Environmental Reserves Omnibus Management Plan 2021.
The Recreation Awards have been held annually since 1991 and were postponed last year due to the pandemic.