Waipā District councillor Hazel Barnes has been awarded a Queen's Service Medal for service to local government and the community.
Over 30 years, Hazel has made significant contributions to the Waipā community and has helped to revitalise Kihikihi – the town she calls home.
Hazel says she was surprised and delighted to receive the award, acknowledging the community effort behind many of her projects.
"I could never have attained them without the willingness of the community to want change and better their living standards."
Waipā mayor Jim Mylchreest says Hazel is a truly deserving recipient of the award.
"Hazel is a longstanding and popular local councillor who has poured a huge amount of time and effort into making our community – particularly Kihikihi - a place where people want to live, work and visit."
Hazel has been a Waipā District councillor for the past 17 years.
Upon her initial election, she established a committee of local volunteers dedicated to reviving Kihikihi and her efforts have led to a large variety of restoration projects in the town.
Hazel was a founding member of the Waikato Asthma Society for 12 years, the Waikato Counterstroke organisation for 12 years, and the Waikato Equestrian Centre for 16 years.
She was a driving force behind the establishment of the Kihikihi Domain, which hosts international equestrian events.
She also worked as a nurse for 13 years and as a social worker for 15 years.
Hazel was an executive member of the Hamilton Rehabilitation Association for seven years, a trustee of the Trust Bank Waikato Community Trust Board for four years, and a voluntary marriage celebrant for 24 years.
She has been an active Justice of the Peace for the past 28 years and is the current president of Te Awamutu Grey Power.