Being on this year's Queen's Birthday honours list gave Kawakawa community stalwart Noma Shepherd a welcome boost.
Shepherd was in Auckland expecting a phone call from the hospital about a medical appointment and was pleasantly surprised to hear a representative from Government House on the other end of the line.
Shepherd said she was still "buzzing" about being made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the community.
"I was feeling quite sorry for myself, I didn't know what to think, but it certainly was a booster.
"The hardest thing was keeping it all quiet."
Shepherd is the Kawakawa Hundertwasser Memorial Park Trust chairwoman, and performs a host of other roles which help the community.
The 85-year-old was a key driver of the project to establish Te Hononga Hundertwasser Memorial Park building, a cultural centre opened by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last October.
Shepherd thanked everyone involved in the project which pays tribute to the late Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser.
"There's been some terrific help along the way.
"It's been quite a long journey one way or another but interesting and exciting and challenging.
"I've really enjoyed it.
"It's a reflection on everybody that's helped with everything I've belonged to. The whole community.
"You can't do anything on your own, you've got to take the people with you or go with them."
Shepherd was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1997, and has continued to make significant contributions to the Kawakawa and Bay of Islands communities.
This includes the creation of the famous Hundertwasser toilets with the artist himself and local schoolchildren and volunteers in 1999.
At the time, Kawakawa was looking rundown, with banks and shops closing on the main street, Shepherd said.
"Building the toilets seemed to turn that around, it lifted the spirits of people.
"Now it's a different town altogether.
"Last time I said it was a buzz and it's the same this time for the recognition that everyone's done.
"When you look back and see how many people have been involved in all these things... there's been people from all walks of life coming in to help."
Shepherd chaired the Bay of Islands Community Board from 1997 to 2006 and was secretary and then chairwoman of the Kawakawa Domain Board from 1997 to 2007.
She joined the trust in 2007 and became chair in 2011, overseeing the process of obtaining a suitable site, developing a building design, and establishing memorandums of understanding with local councils, iwi, and stakeholders.
She has also been president of the Bay of Islands Senior Citizens Club since 2003 and has chaired the Kawakawa Memorial Museum Library Charitable Trust since 2009.
She was also area co-ordinator for the annual Cancer Society Daffodil Day from 2005 to 2015 and has served six four-year terms as president of the Taumarere Opua Women's Institute.