Musician Richard Nicolson now knows it's volunteers who make the world go round after being among eight other recipients of this year's Hastings District Council Civic Awards.
"I was overwhelmed, to be honest, listening to all of the things that some of the other people have done," he said.
"It really just makes you realise how much of what goes on in a community is actually based on people giving their time for free and without that I think we would be in big trouble."
Mr Nicolson arrived in Hawke's Bay from Wellington in 1980 and since then his dedication to cultural life in the twin cities has helped many musicians.
He had acted as an unpaid agent, connecting musicians with performance opportunities and supporting young artists, often providing them with their first public appearance.
"There was a very healthy music scene here, there seemed to be a lot of people who needed a knee up and I've been able to do that with the help of a few other musician friends," Mr Nicolson said.
He organised musicians for the annual Summer in the Park free concert series and helped establish the Live After Five series at the Hawke's Bay Opera House.
For 17 years he had also been an active member of Creative Hastings, helping on numerous projects.
"We intend to take a series of concerts at the community arts building in Hastings, on Russell St, through the winter period," Mr Nicolson said.
Giving up personal time for others is a quality Frank Crist knows plenty about.
The former Hastings Boys' High School headmaster became involved in a raft of projects which fell into his lap after he retired.
Among them was his work at the Hawke's Bay Prison.
"When I retired, I went out and did some voluntary work at the prison for about six years.
There was about 30 of us that used to go out there and give teaching lessons to the inmates," Mr Crist said.
"It was rather an extraordinary time, we found 70 per cent of the inmates couldn't read."
Mr Crist said he initially thought he'd be teaching inmates to read but on arrival was questioned by the officer in charge.
"She said to me, 'what did you teach', so I told her, and then she said, 'would you be prepared to teach maths', so that's what I did and I took these young fellows for maths.
"So many of them were my old boys and so were the people working there, the wardens ... some of the inmates would say to me, what the hell are you doing here Mr Crist?"
He said he didn't know why the initiative at the prison was cut "by the powers that be in Wellington" but it was just one in a number of projects he had been involved with.
"We established the Akina [Activities Centre] school for drop outs from the main education system, we took them all from schools around Hastings and gave them a special programme with some success," he said.
The school was among other voluntary educational posts Mr Crist took on, including the Hawke's Bay Community College, now the EIT, the Anakiwa Trust which runs Outward Bound and the Sir James Wattie Memorial Trust.
Mr Crist has been attending Hastings Rotary meetings for 45 years and was president and secretary of the organisation at different times.
In 1981 he received Rotary's highest award, the Paul Harris Rotary Fellowship.
AMONG THE OTHER SEVEN RECIPIENTS ANNOUNCED AT THE CIVIC AWARDS ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT WAS FUNERAL DIRECTOR TERRY LONGLEY, WHO HAS SERVED THE COMMUNITY FOR 50 YEARS.
He has supported about 20,000 families who had experienced grief in one way or another.
As a funeral director, Mr Longley had organised special areas in Havelock North and Hastings cemeteries for babies and still-born deaths.
He was described as a humble man who had always placed the needs of others before himself and his own family.
Jill Thomsen's dedication as a community leader had stood out over the years in her various roles in education and welfare.
She is a former home economics teacher at Hawke's Bay high schools and ran a course in the 1970s and 1980s for expectant, new and adoptive parents, through the Hastings and District Parent Centre.
She began working with the Red Cross in the 1980s where she was a first-aid instructor, youth programme co-ordinator and principal training officer for the Hawke's Bay/East Coast region in 1993.
Mrs Thomsen had also been a leader of both Brownies and Girl Guides where she was an inspiration to many young women.
COLEEN DAVEY HAS SPENT THOUSANDS OF HOURS DEDICATED TO CHARITIES AND COMMUNITY GROUPS.
She established the Hawke's Bay branch of a support group for families and friends of murder victims and organises an annual memorial service for the group, providing ongoing support for many families.
Mrs Davey co-ordinated the Cranford Hospice Street Appeal and helped to resurrect the hospice Remembrance Tree.
She was also involved in the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind; Riding for the Disabled, the Brain Injury Association, the Arthritis Foundation and child cancer.
She gave 40 years' service to the SPCA, was a member of Civil Defence and was one of the first women to receive a service medal from the rural fire service.
Teaching communication skills and building self-confidence among people, especially youth, were a few of the qualities Judith Bartlett has offered to Hastings.
She has been a Toastmaster for 34 years and serves as the New Zealand District Governor and represented New Zealand Toastmasters at international conventions.
Many students had achieved speaking honours as a result of Mrs Bartlett's guidance and mentoring.
She has also been involved in debating, as a judge and co-ordinator of the Hawke's Bay Secondary Schools Debating Association.
Mrs Bartlett achieved the Speech Communication Association's Meredith Caisley Award and is one of only four people to attain a Speech New Zealand Fellowship in Public Speaking.
REVEREND RONALD SINCLAIR'S WORK FOR THE COMMUNITY CONTINUED AFTER HIS RETIREMENT IN 1991.
He offered his time as an ordained priest at many community project blessings, such as the openings of the Hastings Sports Centre, the science block at Hastings Girls' High School and the Work and Income New Zealand building in Hastings, as well as an event to mark the burial of a time capsule in the central business district.
He has also offered his time as relief hospital chaplain for services and made himself available for on-call emergencies.
He was chaplain of many groups and organisations, including the Hastings RSA, Hastings Host Lions, the Airforce Association and Bomber Command and was Industrial Chaplain for the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
A plan to build a network of paths in the Hastings district, for walkers and cyclists, earned the Rotary Centennial Pathways Trust a place in the civic award honours.
The trust members spent hundreds of hours lobbying councils and community leaders to build four paths at the Pakowhai Country Park to Waitangi Park; Clive to River Road via Black Bridge, Clive to Awatoto and Te Awanga to Clifton.
Two more paths are planned from Black Bridge to Te Awanga via Haumoana and Pakowhai COuntry Park to Ormond Rd. The project had cost around $1 million.
The civic group award was accepted by trust chairman John Baker.