General Awards


13 September 2010 Victor Brown Special award from the Styx Living Laboratory Trust  

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15 July 2009 Christine Heremaia Special Award from the Shirley Papanui Community Board

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18 June 2007 Victor Brown Community Service Award  

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2003 Shirley Papanui Community Board National Award Community Board Best Practice Award Category - Significant Project  

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2001 Styx River Project International Thiess Riverprize finalist International River Foundation

Young Totara Award

The Young Totara Award is an initiative of Rotary New Zealand. As part of the “Preserve Planet Earth” project each district Rotary Club is encouraged to seek out young people who display strength of character, courage of conviction, care of community, and pursuit of excellence.  Rotary New Zealand believes that by recognising young people with these qualities they can easily promote their ideals and encourage positive role models for the growing generations.

In June 2008 the Christchurch City Council, in conjunction with the Shirley Papanui Community Board, gave approval to the Rotary Club of Belfast, Christchurch to plant totara trees in a specific area of Styx Mill Conservation Reserve. A totara tree is planted each time the Rotary Club presents an award to a young person in its locality. Although the planting of totara trees in the reserve was only approved in 2008 all previous award winners will also have a tree planted in their honour in the Styx Mill Conservation Reserve.

Winners of the Young Totara Awards presented by the Rotary Club of Belfast


2012 - 2013 Miranda Hitchings
2011 - 2012 Ruben McCartney
2010 - 2011 Claire Everts
2009 - 2010 Sarah Cramp
2006 - 2007 Andrew Oswin
2005 - 2006 Hannah Cramp
2004 - 2005 Felicity Upjohn
2002 - 2003 Danial Gilmore
1998 - 1999 Erin Kelly
1997 - 1998 Helen Edwards
1994 - 1995 Joanne Cribb
1992 - 1993 Graham Todd

The totara tree was chosen as an appropriate symbol of leadership and strength. One of the largest trees within a New Zealand native forest, its timber was prized by Maori as being the best for building their massive war canoes. It was also the main timber used for carving. Its timber was also used for a wide variety of purposes including bridge and wharf construction.

Maori speak of the spirit of the Totara and its common ancestry with the people. They consider it a living elder and therefore a sacred tree symbolising respect.  The Totara is regarded as being the king of the forest, protecting other trees. For this reason the Totara tree is an appropriate symbol to recognise leadership amongst young people.

The following saying is often quoted when a leader dies:

Ka hinga te totara i te wao nui a Tane, engari, mate atu he tete kura, whakaete mai he tete kura.
"The Totara tree in Tane's great forest has fallen, however, a leader falls, and another leader thrusts his way to the front."