Many people across Horowhenua volunteer their time to make the region a better, more fair and pleasant place to live, and their dedication and perseverance often goes unrecognised.

Nine particularly dedicated members of the community, were honoured for their actions on Tuesday night in front of fellow citizens.

Horowhenua District mayor Michael Feyen said that since the inception of the Civic Honours Awards in 1995, many citizens of the Horowhenua district have been recognised and acknowledged for their selfless commitment to community groups, clubs and committees.

"Our volunteers come from a variety of voluntary clubs and organisations and have provided outstanding service within our community, worthy of recognition," he said.


Tony Strawbridge
For his voluntary service and commitment to the Waitarere Beach, Tony Strawbridge received a Civic Honour.

Serving for a number of years in the Progressive and Ratepayers Association, he has volunteered his time as member, treasurer, vice president and president.

Tony is an avid volunteer, supporting all community activities, particularly those at the beach. Tony is involved in Neighbourhood Support, the Beach Warden Network, volunteers at a local rest home and coordinates a local bereavement group.

Mr Feyen said that the enormity of all his actions prove Tony's selfless nature, and the way in which others speak of him reinforces his suitability for such an award.

Gerald De Castro
A Civic Honour was awarded to Gerald De Castro for his dedication to sport.

Since leaving college Mr De Castro has stayed local, raising a family and working in sports retail for more than 50 years.

His love for sports has led him to be heavily involved in the HorowhenuaKapiti Cricket Association where he currently serves as vice president.

He has also volunteered extensively for the Horowhenua-Kapiti Rugby Football Union, where he was nominated for the grassroots rugby heroes competition.

Mr Feyen said that his self-sacrificing service to the greater community had been impressive and a source of inspiration to many over the years.

Christina Paton
Christina Paton, a "fierce and devoted" public servant for around 20 years was also given a Civic Honour.

Mr Feyen said that Mrs Paton, well known for her stance on water rights, had been a strong advocate for keeping our waterways clean, removing waste and effluent from the rivers.

"She truly has been a champion for the environment," he said.

"Described as very honest and upfront, Christina has always been determined to speak for what she believes is right."

Mr Feyen said that at times the battle for her beliefs was difficult, however Christina was proof that individuals who are willing to share their thoughts in a community such as this are able to produce some amazing outcomes for our citizens as a whole.

Allen Little
Allen Little, the first legally blind person to be qualified as a community nurse in New Zealand, also received a Civic Honour.

Mr Little founded the Radio Reading Service, a not-for-profit that takes written information and converts it into sound bites, so that those with eyesight impairments are still able to enjoy and appreciate literature.

Mr Feyen said that Mr Little was a true soldier of the community.
For many years Mr Little had volunteered his time to the Levin and Districts Senior Citizens Association, where he serves as vice president.

Youth scholarships
■ Twelve young people were also chosen to receive the Youth Scholarships for Excellence.
James Atkinson, Emily Anderson, and Emily Schleuss received awards for Community Service, Hannah Wedlock, Tessa Paulin, Viliami Mohi for Arts and Culture and Carly Christensen, Meghan Davenport and Joshua Young for Academia.

Excellence in Sports went to New Zealand representative weightlifter and Manawatu College student Samantha Hansen, HorowhenuaKapiti Cricketer of the year and Horowhenua College student Fraser Bartholomew, and Hurricanes U18 Development rugby squad player Josiah TavitaMetcalfe.

A Mayoral Award went to Horowhenua Special Olympics Committee as 2017 marks the 30th year anniversary of the establishment of Special Olympics in Horowhenua.

Special Olympics Horowhenua has more than 30 registered volunteers and another 30 who assist at events annually.

Certificates of Recognition were awarded to: the late Rose Thompson from Shannon, who supported the Horowhenua community for many years; Grey Power life member Lew Rohloff; basketball coach Mel Chandler; advocate for the elderly Margaret Williams and Sidney Anderson, an influential community member in music.