Editorial: Bay people who really inspire us


Sorry but I've simply failed to come up with a definitive 2011 Hawke's Bay Person of the Year.

There are too many folk worthy of the title.

So, in no particular order, here's my top 10 list of Hawke's Bay's most inspiring people in the year that was:

Henare O'Keefe - Hastings district councillor.

More ticker than anyone I've met. Stands totara-like against the social ill-winds of Flaxmere. A colossus of a man. A hug from this bloke cures anything. The heart of Hawke's Bay and our most galvanising citizen.

Liam Mataira, Benjamin Hayllar and Tama McKenzie - Hastings Boys' High students.

This teenage trio counts as one after their single heroic act in foiling the abduction attempt of a schoolgirl. Their swift decision to act and clear sense of right and wrong blew Generation Me theories clean out of the water.

Tom Belford - blogger. The pea under a politician's mattress. A ponytailed political animal who shines a light into dark corners of local politics. Unlike many Americans who descend on the Bay to enlighten the unenlightened, the former White House aide's become one of us. His daily missives are a ratepayer's best friend.

Tony Adeane - district court judge. The sharpest knife in the judicial drawer. Feared by litigators and crooks. Articulate, hard-hitting and heartfelt. Bang-on social commentary from the bench. Such wit and wisdom shouldn't be confined to a courtroom.

Russell Wills - Children's Commissioner, pediatrician. A Children's Commissioner with genuine clout. Easily interfaces between the clinic and community. A man of action. Our youngest are already seeing a dividend. Heartening to see real muscle directed towards those we care about the most.

Stephen Smith - St John co-ordinator and paramedic.

Attends and mends those hurt in horrific accidents. Risks his own neck dangling from helicopters to rescue strangers. A fabulous guy. If you're in an accident, pray this man's on duty.

Kimberly McNeill - survivor. Aptly dubbed "Our Miracle Girl" after defying a dire prognosis following a near fatal crash. A modern day Lazarus - but far better looking. A real-life Christmas miracle with her stage comeback in December.

Israel Dagg - All Black. Camberley's proudest son scored the opening try of the Rugby World Cup. My sons yell the house down when he hits the backline. Gloriously talented. Rekindled my waning love of the game.

David Trubridge - designer.

I've said before this designer's better known in the Big Apple than the Fruit Bowl. A touchstone for any environmentalist or designer. Global and local decorator of homes. Triggers both our creativity and conscience.

Matisse Reid - Organ transplant survivor. The Bay's bravest. The 11-year-old adds more perspective to our daily lives than any other. Unable to eat for a decade until a multiple-organ transplant in 2010. Ate her first ever Christmas dinner eight days ago. Go you good thing.

These people have enriched Hawke's Bay. It was a privilege to have you all blip on my radar in 2011.

Many thanks and much happiness in 2012.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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