A St John Ambulance volunteer has been recognised as one of Whangārei's lockdown heroes after more than 100 submissions from the public.
Laura McKay received prizes worth $1000 as part of a giveaway organised by small businesses to celebrate essential workers who looked after the community during the recent level 4 lockdown.
The mother of a 2-year-old normally works part time, but picked up extra work during lockdown, pulling 14-16-hour shifts and then spent her weekends volunteering for St John Ambulance.
"We felt that Laura has gone above and beyond her usual role," beauty business owner Zaytia Coulter said.
Coulter had teamed up with Jessica Jellick Photography, Little Leaf Florals, The Cake Co, Loft Yoga, Event Cinemas Whangārei and Roost Comfort Food and Beer to put together a selection of vouchers and goodies.
Together, they put a call out on social media to find a lockdown hero.
They received 181 entries and Coulter said the decision was hard.
"We would have loved to give something to everybody."
McKay was surprised when she heard of her nomination, and said many other people deserved recognition.
Besides McKay, Whangārei nurse Moana Tipene-Mahunga was nominated by whānau for "working six to seven days per week over lockdown to give cover to those who needed to be home with their kids".
Similarly, Donna Maree Austin, a home support worker, was doing 12-hour shifts – often without a toilet stop because public toilets were closed – to cover for co-workers who looked after their families.
A Tikipunga dairy got a shout-out for "offering to drop off food packages to their local elderly customers so they wouldn't have to leave the house or try and navigate online grocery shopping".
Onerahi New World owner Claire Varcoe was nominated for packing online shopping at 3am most mornings so she could increase the number of slots available and ensure everyone got their orders on time.
Paramedic Leah Remkes was nominated more times than any other individual.
And Ash McGregor was mentioned for opening her bubble to look after an essential worker family so both of the parents could keep working.