Nominations for the inaugural Pride of New Zealand Awards, to celebrate New Zealanders who make the most positive, uplifting and inspiring contributions to their community, are now open.

Hawke's Bay Today will work alongside the New Zealand Herald and The Hits (previously Classic Hits) in recognising the efforts of everyday Kiwis who make a real difference in their communities.

APN's other news titles, as well as major partner TSB Bank, will also support the awards.

The awards in categories including courage, bravery, and community spirit will recognise everyday Kiwis who selflessly and mostly unheralded strive to make New Zealand an even better place to live.

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The Pride of New Zealand Awards will recognise leaders, campaigners, volunteers, teachers, caregivers and other unsung heroes who have done something extraordinary in their community.

The awards are a chance to reward and celebrate those who make us proud _ now is your chance to nominate someone who inspires you at www.prideofnzawards.co.nz
The first nominee for Hawke's Bay is:

Allan Boyd

For a man who confessed that he "couldn't really swim" Napier's Allan Boyd has done a pretty good job over the past 44 years of teaching youngsters to be safe in the water.

"Oh, I don't know how many I've taught to swim," the 74-year-old said.

"Probably safe to use the word 'thousands'," he added as he reflected on being nominated for a Pride of New Zealand award.

"I was quite shocked when I heard I'd been nominated," the retired locomotive driver said.

"I've just plodded along and got on with it - never thought about it."

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Mr Boyd said he could swim "to get out of trouble" but could only really manage to get to the end of a 25m length of a pool. He knew the basics and it was while watching his 8-year-old son Darrell being taught to swim by the late Ivan Wilson that he became involved.

"I was just standing there and Ivan said 'how about giving us a hand?"'

So began 30 years of volunteering to teach youngsters to swim. "I was a shift worker on the railways so I had time to do it," he said.

Mr Boyd said he taught "basically". He watched coaches at work and read books on swimming and perfected his own techniques which worked in with the individual style and strengths of his young charges.

"You will see them flounder one day and then the next day they get it and they're away."

It did not feel like 44 years had passed, Mr Boyd said, adding that what did bring that length of time home to him was teaching a second generation.

"You taught my dad to swim," one boy told him.

A life member of Aquahawks and Swimming Hawke's Bay/Poverty Bay Mr Boyd has been employed by the Napier City Council for about the past 14 years and runs his daily swimming lessons at the Napier Aquatic Centre.

"I will continue to keep doing it while I enjoy it - and I am still enjoying it."

Do you know someone who stands apart for their courage, selflessness or generosity? Nominate them at prideofnzawards.co.nz