For Kawakawa couple Panapa and Glenys Davis, helping others comes as naturally as breathing.

Over the years the down-to-earth, humble pair who are now in their 70s have been active in multiple charities and community service organisations.

So perhaps it's no surprise they want to "leave town and go bush" after learning they were among special New Zealanders who had made this year's New Year's Honours list.

Panapa – who likes to be called Pat – and Glenys – a Reverend - were awarded Queen's Service Medals for their services to the community.

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Glenys and Pat Davis, from Kawakawa, were awarded Queen's Service Medals for services to the community. Photo / Jenny Ling
Glenys and Pat Davis, from Kawakawa, were awarded Queen's Service Medals for services to the community. Photo / Jenny Ling

"It's a bit embarrassing actually," Glenys said.

"This isn't something we do for recognition. They must be short of nominations this year."

"There are other people who do far more than we do," Pat added.

"If I can help out, I'll help out, it's that simple. We just want to get on and do it."

Glenys and Pat have been married 57 years and have always lived in Kawakawa. They ran a business, the popular Bonanza Tearooms and Dairy, for 12 years before selling in 1996. Since then they have volunteered their time with numerous mid and Far North groups.

They credit their four children for "helping us be who we are".

The only item they're keen to show off is their family photo featuring Labour's deputy leader Kelvin Davis, Patrick, a senior sergeant in Northland, Greg the district court judge, and little sister, Sonya Davis-Brooking, a teacher now living in Waiouru.

Glenys Davis and her husband Pat [centre] pictured with sons deputy Labour leader Kelvin Davis and police senior sergeant Patrick Davis. Photo / file
Glenys Davis and her husband Pat [centre] pictured with sons deputy Labour leader Kelvin Davis and police senior sergeant Patrick Davis. Photo / file

Their hallway is adorned with numerous certificates and awards, mostly from Mid North Victim Support where Pat has volunteered for 30 years.

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He was appointed to the Mid North Local Group Committee of Victim Support in the 1980s and the National Board of Directors from 2011 to 2017.

In these roles he has contributed to the organising and running of fundraising projects and community events which also saw him win the Manaaki Tangata Award in 2016.

A Justice of the Peace for 23 years, Pat played a key role in organising bi-centennial anniversary celebrations in 2014 marking the arrival of the first Justice of the Peace in New Zealand.

Pat, who descends from Ngāti Manu, often helps prepare food for hui and marae events at the Kāretu Marae, where Glenys has voluntarily presided over tangi and weddings.

Glenys also volunteers as a police chaplain for seven police stations in the Mid North, with a primary focus on providing pastoral care for officers at the Kerikeri and Kaikohe police stations.

She has conducted police Remembrance Day services and been involved with staff award ceremonies.

In the past, they have both popped down the road to man the counter at the local police station.

The pair is also passionate about the Bay of Islands Food Bank, having volunteered there since 2009, each week preparing and delivering food parcels to families in need.

"We're all part of a global community," Glenys said.

"We should stop thinking of ourselves as belonging to any particular ethnicity or group, we're all part of the world, we all have to live and work together. That's what we've tried to do all our lives."

The couple also had a long-term involvement with St Paul's Anglican church in Kawakawa, where Glenys was a minister before transferring to Waimate-Taumarere pastorate.

After the church was destroyed by arson in 2004 they helped with its reconstruction, organising working bees and a church stall in the local market to raise funds.

The new St Thomas Anglican church and dining hall was opened in 2016.