Hastings' former deputy mayor has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to the community and local government.
A Waipawa resident, but a Hastings woman at heart, Cynthia Bowers received the honour this Queen's Birthday.
Bowers was elected to Hastings District Council in 1995 representing the then Hastings City ward.
Two terms later when Lawrence Yule became mayor she was selected as his deputy and held the role until standing down in 2016.
Bowers is "really humbled" by the honour but said there are a lot of other people who "have worked really hard as councillors".
"Whilst I'm really proud to get the recognition, I'm just one person that has done what I've done."
She said she couldn't have done it without the inspiration she got from the late Jeremy Dwyer, former Hastings mayor, and feels the honour is a reflection on the work of the Hastings Landmarks Trust and others she has worked with.
Bowers joined the Hastings Landmarks Trust, set up by Dwyer, in 1999 with a group of other councillors because the aim of increasing civic pride resonated with her.
While on the council, one of the things Bowers is "really proud of" was overseeing the transformation of Roys Hill from a closed rubbish dump to a thriving reserve in the early 2000s.
The idea came from the late John Nimon and together they promoted the idea and lobbied council.
The council worked on it and working bees planted 2500 trees to make it the reserve it is now.
Throughout her time on council and in her various roles, Bowers said the key thing was "always the opportunity to make a difference".
"What I learned early on was that if you came up with an idea, had a good group of people supporting you and if you did your homework and went about it carefully, you could get the support of council officers and you could really make things happen."
A couple of moments of change she remembers from her time in council is fighting for the information centre to be in the Hastings CBD, which necessitated a public rally to gather council support for its location in the Westermans building.
"I always actually enjoyed having to get stuck in and be upfront about putting forward change that I thought was necessary."
Another area was supporting cycleways in Hastings, which didn't have a lot of council support at the time.
She helped organise bicycles and helmets for all of the councillors and "to their credit", they all took part cycling through Hastings.
"That made a real difference to gaining the political support to get on and get the cycleways in place that we've got now."
More recently until 2018 Bowers was involved with Horse of the Year, leading changes that resulted in Hastings gaining long-term hosting rights. She was also on the Arts Inc Heretaunga board from 2000 until 2018.