Rotorua Trust turns 25, celebrates distribution of $111 million into community

ast and present trustees of the Rotorua Trust celebrate 25 years of supporting the Rotorua community

Normally, birthdays are about getting gifts – but for Rotorua Trust it’s all about what it has given over the years.

The trust has distributed more than $111 million into the Rotorua community since it began in 1994, supporting thousands of local projects and organisations in a bid to make a better Rotorua for all.

This week, past and present trustees gathered to share their highlights of the trust’s first 25 years of operation and their aspirations for the future.

Established to serve the community of Rotorua, the trust was formed from the sale of Rotorua Electricity Limited – one of New Zealand’s first power companies, established in 1901.

As part of the sale process and after much public debate, it was agreed a charitable trust would provide the greatest opportunity to share the sale proceeds across the whole community.

A quarter of a century on, former trustees, including past chairs Grahame Hall and Judy Keaney, shared highlights from their time around the board table.

Hall said the legacy that had been created had benefitted the community of Rotorua as a whole.

“Whether it be through large capital projects such as the Energy Events Centre, to the millions of dollars invested in education for our young people. I am proud, too, of the trust’s heritage arts collection which is a heartening treasure for our next generation.

“My hope for the next 25 years is that we can continue to have great people around the board table,” Hall said.

Trust chairman Stewart Edward said grants that helped smaller organisations, to providing Rotorua Hospital with a CT scanner and MRI machine, and everything in between, were highlights for him.

“With three of the original six trustees – Stuart Burns, Roma Cook and Judy Keaney – attending, it was a chance to reflect on the passage of time, and on the brave and insightful decision it was to form the trust amongst a lot of public debate at the time.

“Not surprisingly, individual trustees have had different views and opinions on some issues, but overall each has been driven by wanting to make a better Rotorua for all. The overall feeling was one of pride amongst trustees to have been able to contribute to the Rotorua community over the past 25 years.

“With a strong focus on our strategic priorities, we believe we will continue to deliver positive outcomes for the Rotorua community.

“The 2017 – 2020 strategic priorities are health and the first 1000 days, education and employment opportunities, vibrancy (arts, culture, events and activities), the environment, renewable energy and strengthening our communities.”

• The tri-annual elections for the Rotorua Trust board will be held in November. An information evening for those wanting to know more about the role will be held at the trust offices on Eruera St at 5.30pm on Thursday, August 1.

You can view the Rotorua Daily Post article here.

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