This year’s call to the community sector to nominate a volunteer, or group of volunteers, who had made an exceptional contribution to the community, was very well received. Twenty-one individuals and three groups of volunteers received Awards.

Newshub’s Mike McRoberts has a real heart for Canterbury, and we were delighted that he accepted our invitation to present this year’s Awards. As well as family ties and having lived in Christchurch for many years, in his News Anchor role Mike also covered the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. In other war torn or disaster hit areas in the world he has covered, Mike said there was a feeling of separation from what was happening around him; it was a very different feeling when it came to covering the ‘quakes of Christchurch and more recently Kaikoura, he said. These places he was familiar with. The volunteers who responded in those times did amazing things, Mike said, and cited in particular the number of meals that were served by Marae in Kaikoura immediately following the quakes.

Mike had been in Christchurch a few weeks before the Awards, running the City’s Marathon, and recording a personal best. What he didn’t mention was that he ran his first marathon in New York as a running buddy through the Achillies Club, which supports people with disabilities to realise their sporting dreams. For Mike that meant not just running in New York, but training over the previous weeks and months with his runner. That’s the volunteering commitment!