The greatest reward Mangawhai woman Christine Bygrave gets from her years of community work is being able to help young people.
It's partly what motivates her and her work has been recognised and appreciated by many, but she feels it's a ''huge honour and very humbling'' to be awarded a Queen's Service Medal (QSM) in the Queen's Birthday Honours list released today.
She was given the honour for service to the community after years of involvement with numerous community organisations and groups in and around Mangawhai.
Bygrave has been involved at a senior level with a number of organisations within the Mangawhai/Hakaru community for many years. She has been involved with the Mangawhai Historical Society from its early days, when a new museum was conceived.
She was involved with fundraising, commissioning, and completing the new museum, which opened in 2014. She was instrumental in establishing a fund to add regular sponsorship and return on endowments to the museum's operational budget and continues as an active volunteer and chair of the board.
Bygrave is also a trustee of a Pioneer Village project situated next to the museum. She has been an active member of the Mangawhai Golf Club for 30 years and served in a number of committee roles. She was the first female president from 2003 to 2004 and led the celebrations for the club's silver jubilee.
She has played the organ for services at the Kaiwaka St Paul's Church for many years and leads the Mangawhai Singers, who present concerts as fundraisers for community causes. She helped establish the Hakaru Pony Club, whose events are held on her farm. She was chair of the Otamatea High School Board of Trustees from 1983 to 1988 and was given a Kaipara District Council Citizens Award in 2018.
She says no community work is possible without the support of others and for her that was husband Bill, their family and others.
Completing the museum was one of her greatest achievements.
''Museums are not just buildings though, they are living places that tell our history and our stories. They tell us about who we are where we came from and the museum is a big part of my life,'' she said.
But it was helping youngsters that gave her the greatest pleasure and that was what initially got her into her community work.
''I was a city girl [and former Head Girl of Epsom College] who married a dairy farmer and moved to Mangawhai,'' she said.
''I wanted to help out in the community and as a mother I got involved in their activities, Cubs, Scouts, Brownies etcetera. When you are involved like that you quickly get involved in other areas of the community.''
Bygrave will continue helping her community - "it's such a huge part of my life".