Sixteen Far North residents have been recognised for years of unpaid, selfless work to make the district a better place.
Recipients of this year's Far North District Council Citizen Awards included a couple who have spent the past 30 years looking after at-risk kids in Kaeo, a man credited with reviving Paihia's fortunes and a couple who have turned troubled kids into national waka ama champions. Other recipients have formed the backbone of Kaitaia rugby, created a garden paradise for public enjoyment and been vocal advocates for their towns.
None have been paid for their efforts and all have dedicated vast amounts of time and energy to community causes.
The awards were presented in a ceremony last Friday at the council chambers in Kaikohe, where Mayor Wayne Brown made special mention of the late Ian Morrison.
Mr Morrison, who died a week earlier, had not been nominated for an award but would easily have qualified. A founding member of Vision Kerikeri, he also played key roles in the Kerikeri Business Association, the Turner Centre, tthe Kerikeri International Piano Competition, and the trust which brought the frigate Canterbury to the Bay of Islands as a dive attraction.
Also honoured at the same ceremony were Waimamaku farmhand Rata Moa, who helped save the Opononi Hotel from a devastating fire earlier this year, and Waipapa volunteer ambulance officer Kerry Sinclair, who battled in vain to save a drowning man at Ninety Mile Beach.
The recipients will have their names inscribed on an honours board in the foyer of the council chambers. The council has honoured 120 residents since the awards were introduced in 2001.
The full citations for the 2013 recipents are as follows:
Les and Lauren Barclay
Les and Lauren have been active and valued members of the Mangonui community for many years. They were instrumental in creating a park with trees and picnic facilities from what had previously been a wasteland in Mill Bay Road.
They also played a big role in developing the Mill Bay Historic Trail, which includes signage with information about the old timber mill, Silver Egg site, and Mangonui's first hotel.
As well as spending hundreds of hours improving the area, Les has been a member of the local volunteer fire brigade for several decades.
Kawakawa businessman Richard Duley has given nine years of exemplary service to the Kawakawa Business and Community Association and been its chairperson for the last seven years.
In that time, Richard has devoted countless unpaid hours to community projects that make Kawakawa a better place to live and do business in.
This work on behalf of the community includes installing and maintaining security cameras in the town, lobbying for a flood protection plan and helping to organise the Kawakawa Christmas Parade. He also fought for the retention of Bay of Islands Hospital and vital local government services.
Trainspotter Cafe director Kelly Stratford says Richard is a passionate but fair voice for the community and businesses. "He speaks for our whole community. It is not for personal gain. He cares about our town and its future."
Janet and Mike Fleming
Janet and Mike have organised activities for at-risk youth in Kaeo for more than 30 years and are renowned for trying to make the town a place where youth can develop and prosper. These activities include running after-school and youth groups, as well as a Friday night Kids Rally which is attended by more than 50 children.
Janet and Mike also take young people fishing, hold Bible classes and help run Christian youth camps where their ability to make wonderful meals out of very little is legendary.
Many children in Kaeo come from families with little money or no transport, but Janet and Mike make sure that isn't a barrier to them taking part. They collect kids from their homes in vans and return them safely afterwards; often with food for the rest of the family.
One father, whose son goes to Janet and Mike's recreational and Bible programmes three days a week, says many children in Kaeo would have a very different life without the Flemings.
"The planning and effort they put into our children is amazing and we are so lucky to have them."
Paihia aviation veteran and Focus Paihia Community Trust Chairman Grant Harnish has been a driving force in Paihia's economy and community for years.
Most people know Grant as the successful businessman who operated fixed wing aircraft and helicopter business Salt Air Ltd on the Paihia foreshore for 20 years. But he has also led Paihia's renaissance over the last four years.
Focus Paihia's goal is to see Paihia 'blossom and shine' and become an exceptional place to live, work and visit. Under Grant's chairmanship, Focus Paihia has:
- developed a master plan which shows how the community wants the town to look in 15 years
- secured $200,000 of Pub Charities funds for a state-of-the-art beach-grooming machine
- opened an Op Shop to raise money for 'pocket' projects that transform public areas into uplifting spaces, such as the funky seating area outside the Paihia i-SITE which was created in one weekend by more than 100 volunteers.
Current projects include transforming the waterfront car park into a pedestrian-friendly green space area. Far North District Councillor Sally Macauley says Grant has given much to the community of Paihia and the Far North District.
"With his endeavours to improve the cosmetics of the waterfront and other areas, he has attracted more visitors to the district. Recently it was reported that Paihia and the Bay of Islands are the second most preferred stopover in New Zealand for passenger liner tourists," she said.
Anyone who has visited Roland's Wood in Kerikeri will agree that this 4ha English beech woodland off Inlet Rd is a magical place.
John Horrell can be found at the wood most days, planting, weeding, pruning and developing paths. In fact, we have John and a few other special people to thank for keeping alive the dream of the late Roland Sansom who gifted the wood to the people of Kerikeri to enjoy while walking their dogs.
The preservation of Roland's Wood isn't John's only achievement. He is also a member of the Kerikeri Rotary Club and was instrumental in setting up the very successful annual Garden Safari which attracts up to 1,000 garden lovers.
The Safari has raised thousands of dollars for Rotary's community projects since it was established 27 years ago and John can take a lot of the credit for this.
His garden at the Riverview home he shares with wife Judy is no less an attraction. It has been featured in the book Great Gardens of New Zealand and his personal garden tour is included in a 2012 book about 50 top New Zealand gardens.
Mr Horrell was unable to attend the ceremony, so will be presented with his award at Roland's Wood at a later date.
Judy Hyland is credited with revitalising the Kerikeri District Business Association, during terms as both Vice President and President, and helping to make Kerikeri a more vibrant and prosperous town.
Membership of the association doubled under her leadership. Projects the association initiated or supported while Judy was at the helm for three years included the Paint It Red Campaign during the Rugby World Cup, the Sweet As concert in the Kerikeri Basin, the Half Marathon Street Party and the Ocean to Orchard Wine and Food Festival.
Dave and Nada Jurlina
Rugby in the Far North wouldn't be as strong as it is today without Dave and Nada Jurlina.
The Kaitaia couple have given countless hours of their time and energy over the years to supporting rugby clubs in the Kaitaia and Doubtless Bay area. Dave has coached school and club rugby teams, been an active member of rugby club committees and he is always in the community fund-raising for "the boys".
Leading an underperforming Kaitaia College Boys' 1st XV to championship success has been a high point of his coaching career.
The team has won the Northland Rugby Secondary Schools 1st XV Champions title two out of the three years Dave has been its coach.
The College cites Dave's energy and drive as contributing factors to the team's success. The 90 Milers Under 19 Rugby Team is also at the top of its grade thanks to Dave's coaching over the last four years.
Nada has also been instrumental in helping these teams get to where they are today.
She is always there on the sideline taking photos for the teams and supporting Dave and his boys. She has also played a significant behind-the-scenes role as an administrator for the teams Dave has coached and made her home available for team-building and training exercises. Her baking is renowned.
Outside rugby, Nada does a lot of volunteer work for the Kaitaia Dalmatian Club where she is treasurer, secretary and kola dance instructor.
Daniel and Elizabeth Kaiawe
Husband and wife team Daniel and Elizabeth Kaiawe, have been active supporters of waka ama for years and can take credit for introducing youth in Te Tii and the Mid-North to this traditional sport.
The couple has made huge sacrifices in time and money to provide the training and management that has led to their teams winning gold medals at national and international waka ama championships.
Hana Munro says she nominated Daniel and Elizabeth for a Citizen Award because they have uplifted the morale of youth in Te Tii.
"Throughout this hikoi with waka ama, the youth have achieved so much by their commitment, time management, responsibilities in looking after equipment and respect for fellow competitors, which has brought respect within themselves and pride in the way they hold their ahua."
Solicitor Peter Macauley has been involved in so many community organisations and charitable trusts in the 42 years he has lived in Kaikohe, it is impossible to list these.
Peter has written trust deeds and constitutions for literally hundreds of sporting clubs and groups and has shared his expertise and given countless hours of his time free of charge.
But he is probably most well-known for his 35 years' service to the Kaikohe St John Ambulance where he was awarded a Queen's Honour as a "Serving Brother of St John"in 2007 and a "Commander of St John" in 2012.
He is currently a board member with the national organisation. His long service to St John is nearly matched by his 32-year membership of the Kaikohe Lion's Club where he has held the positions of President, Tail Twister and Lion Tamer and was for 10 years an unpaid legal advisor to the national organisation.
Peter is also an unpaid legal counsel for the Kaikohe RSA and a legal advisor to the Kaikohe Promotions Charitable Trust.
Karetu School principal Ken Timperley has been nominated for a Citizen Award for services to the Kawakawa Community.
Ken referees the Bay Cosmos soccer games, helps organise the annual Puff and Pull Festival and is a trustee on the board of Bay of Islands College.
Former Karetu School Board of Trustees Chairperson Caroline Lye says Ken is an outstanding man who goes beyond the duties of principal and teacher and is always there for the community as well as the school.
"Being a good citizen is being there to referee soccer games, take on extracurricular activities and helping to encourage people to participate. Ken does this and he gives outstanding support for the schools, community and whanau."
Takou Bay retiree Fae Westgate was nominated for a Citizen Award in recognition of her exemplary record as a volunteer at Kerikeri Hospice and Kerikeri Retirement Village.
Fae was a volunteer at Hospice from 1997 until 2012. During that time, she helped raise funds, provided hospice training and supported families and community patients.
Although she left Hospice in 2012, she still gives her time and energy to the Kerikeri Retirement Village where she has been a volunteer for the last 12 years. Captain Mark Brewin said he nominated Fae for an award because of her exceptional effort as a silent volunteer.
"Fae has interacted with staff and clients at the Kerikeri Retirement Village Social Centre in a very constructive manner from 2001 until the present day which is truly remarkable for someone of her age."
He also paid tribute to her extraordinary devotion as a hospice volunteer for 15 years, saying that working in a hospice can be an emotional experience because clients one gets to know and help eventually pass away.
Graham Wilson has been nominated for a Citizen Award for services to sport in Kerikeri.
Graham has been a big supporter of the Bay of Islands Sports Complex which was completed on the Heritage Bypass in 2010.
Graham helped reduce $3.15 million construction costs by building the complex's kitchen and bar and seeking donations and sponsorship for the complex which is a major sporting and social hub.