The humble, everyday heroes in the Bay of Plenty community were celebrated at a special awards ceremony tonight.

Artist Graham Hoete (Mr G), Kai Aroha's Tania Lewis-Rickard and St Chads general manager Nicky Mayne were just some of the locals praised for their community contribution at the 2020 Kiwibank New Zealand Local Hero of the Year ceremony held at the Tauranga's Classic Flyers Museum.

The 22 Kiwibank local heroes were presented with specially made medals to officially recognise their achievements in the community. The awards are part of the 2020 New Zealander of the Year Awards.

Kai Aroha founder Tania Lewis-Rickard said she didn't do the community work for acknowledgement, with her "heart and soul firmly focused on the community."


"Yes, you get tired and the mahi gets hard but you've got support around you," she said.

Rotorua's St Chads' Nicky Mayne said she was "blown away and surprised" when she found out she was receiving an award and called for people to watch for discrimination against disabled people.

"I work to create a better world for tomorrow and remove barriers."

Graham Hoete said he was "blessed and humbled" to receive an award, with the award recipients being "the people who maintain the heart of the community."

Tauranga City Council Deputy Mayor Larry Baldock attended the ceremony to present the medals and congratulate each recipient, along with Rotorua Lakes Councillors Fisher Wang and Merepeka Ruakawa-Tait.

Baldock said that each award winner embodied the qualities that held a community together.

"It was their charity, selflessness and humble generosity that shone bright as we heard each local hero speak about their achievements in our community," Baldock said.

"It's for that very reason I stand with them all tonight, to acknowledge the hard work they've each put into this community that has truly made Tauranga the place it is today," he said.


Ruakawa-Tait said the Local Heroes brought out the best in the community.

"They see a need then marshall the resources and put the effort in to fix it. They usually fly under the radar and do the mahi."

The Kiwibank Local Heroes for the Bay of Plenty are:


· Davina Plummer (Tauranga)
· Charles Harrison (Tauranga)
· Gordon Burr (Tauranga)
· Sam Dowdall (Tauranga)
· Sue Wall-Cade (Mount Maunganui)
· Dave Dobbin (Whakatane)
· Hilary Price (Katikati)
· Tania Lewis Rickard (Tauranga)
· Graham Hoete (Pāpāmoa)
· Diane Stretton Yalden (Taneatua)
· Dr Bernard Conlon (Murupara)
· Dr Britta Conlon (Murupara)
· Josey McKain (Paeroa)
· Steve McKain (Paeroa)
· Lettecia Williams (Port Charles)


· Margriet Theron (Rotorua)
· Karen Barker (Reporoa)
· Danielle Porteous (Rotorua)
· Judy Bowen (Rotorua)
· Jan Bellingham (Rotorua)
· Nicky Mayne (Rotorua)
· Tui Martin (Rotorua)