The Napier Pilot City Trust has recognised nine people in annual awards to mainly volunteers in social work and support networks in Hawke's Bay.

The awards were introduced by acting mayor of Napier Faye White and presented by special guest Sir Kim Workman at the trust's Unity Day forum in the Napier War Memorial Conference Centre on Wednesday.

Among the recipients were Napier couple and lay preachers Jim and Joanne Gaudin, recognised for wide-ranging volunteer work from feeding the homeless to roles with service organisations Rotary International and Inner Wheel.

Uniquely there were two recipients from Napier's William Colenso College, staff member Jan Hiha, known for her restorative innovation to issues with pupils at the school, and pupil Sheridan Ihaia-Rogers, who, said principal Daniel Murfitt, has "been involved in an impressive number of voluntary activities for one so young."


Now a Year 13 student, she had in Year 9 helped in organising social activities including a Matariki Festival and had since become a mentor for international students, helped gather food as part of the Nourish for Nil project and helps her "nan" provide meals for young males' academy Te Aratika, and she has been an organiser of a homework group at Whakatu, where she lives.

Te Aratika director Ronnie Rochel was recognised for her service over 20 years providing an educational pathway to struggling youth, including helping establish the academy in 2017, initially as a partnership school for mainly Māori and Pacifika boys in Years 11-13 but now operated as a special character integrated state school.

Other recipients were disabled persons' advocate and achiever Aaron Garnham-Pitcher, first female Maraenui Rugby and Sports Association president and club and Hawke's Bay Softball Association life member Vicki Julian, Maraenui community garden and Koha Shed volunteer Belinda Pukete, and educator Heather Ann Turner, who has worked, including voluntary service, across the ages with a special focus on children, including helping volunteer organisations providing resources to people and families in need.

White conceded being on some of a "learning curve" stepping into the mayoralty since mayor Bill Dalton suffered a stroke three weeks ago. She said it was only in coming to such a ceremony could she see the levels of "sterling service" being done by people working mainly voluntarily for the betterment of others and the community.