The long-standing annual Trustpower community awards have been discontinued.
Trustpower is seeking to “evolve” its sponsorship community activities.
The utility says the move was not “cost cutting”, but an evolution, according to a spokesperson, community media manager Emily Beaton last week.
She told the Otago Daily Times: “For more than 25 years, the awards have been part of Trustpower’s DNA, but we were finding the format wasn't bringing new groups through and, in March, we decided to make a change."
Until now, the decision was not made public.
The newspaper reports that the move follows steps by the utility company last year to combine neighbouring district ceremonies into single events, and drop its individual awards category.
A joint event for Dunedin and the Clutha District, which was held at Toitu in October last year, is the last run under its banner, says Emily.
The change was not a “cost-cutting” exercise, she says, but an “evolution”.
“The awards have been in the limelight for so long it’s a big challenge for us to take this step forward, and look at how we and our communities can best engage in future,” Emily says.
“But we definitely want to continue to do so in a meaningful way, and welcome people's feedback as to what that could look like.”
The company had been consulting awards partners – mostly councils – around New Zealand, she said.
“There’s been a mix of reservations, combined with enthusiasm to refresh things or take civic awards in a new direction under council control. We're very happy for that to happen,” she told the paper.
Emily says Trustpower would make an announcement regarding its future plans for community sponsorship "before the end of the year".
Trustpower has been contacted to confirm the Dunedin report and also whether such projects as Rotorua’s Young Achievers could also be affected.
The Rotorua Lakes Council has also been contacted for comment.