Hardless, Pat Severinsen, Rob Tulloch. Absent: Murray Scott Johnstone, Zelka Linda Grammer, Mark Walker, Margaret Burnard. Photo / Supplied
Twenty local heroes of Northland who have dedicated their time and effort helping others and have launched initiatives that have made a lasting change were celebrated for their services to the community as part of this year's Kiwibank Local Hero Awards.
Now in their 11th year, the awards - at the Toll Stadium on Friday - celebrate and honour those who have made a positive contribution to their region, town, suburb or community.
Whangārei Mayor Sheryl Mai attended the ceremony to present the medals and congratulate each recipient.
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"Each and every award winner tonight embodies the priceless qualities that hold a community together. It was their charity, selflessness and humble generosity that shone bright as we heard each local hero speak about their achievements in our community," Mai said.
"It's for that very reason I stand with them all tonight, to acknowledge the hard work they've each put into this community that has truly made Northland the place it is today," she said.
This year's recipients are Shaquille Shortland of Whangārei, for his Māori owned social enterprise dedicated to the education of Te Ao Māori which benefits many across the country, including judges, doctors, educators and the public; Janine McVeagh of Rawene who has been a strong advocate for the improvement of the Hokianga Harbour's water quality since 1982; Anahera Pickering of Whangārei for being a tireless role model and advocate for the youth of Whangārei; Murray Scott Johnstone of Whangārei who has been part of the Maungakaramea Rural Volunteer Fire Force for the past 19 years; Catherine and Rob Tulloch of Tikipunga who helped establish the Forget Me Not adult day centre 25 years ago for adults of all ages who have a disability; Carol Peters of Kamo is a newly elected Whangārei District councillor who is at the forefront of many initiatives to better her community; Eric Hansen of Ruakākā who is well known for his voluntary work around conservation and at local sporting clubs; and Peter Crawford of Whangārei who the annual Whangārei Twilight Cricket Competition 41 years ago and commits a great deal of time to Whangārei's elderly.
Further recipients include Zelka Linda Grammer of Whangārei, a passionate orchardist who supported WDC to develop sustainable farming policies; Mark Walker of Waipū who volunteered 50 years as a netball coach and umpire at both local and national levels and other sporting clubs; Pat Severinsen of Kamo who had been a freemason of 54 years and volunteers for the Arthritis Society; Elizabeth Swift of Whangārei who is a lifetime member of Parkinson's New Zealand and co-founder of the organisation's Northland branch; Arna-Lise Harris of Whangārei who is supports mothers with postnatal depression; Karen Lee and Nick Connop (also a newly elected district councillor) of Whangārei, founders of For Our Real Clean Environment (F.O.R.C.E.) charitable trust who have removed 13 tonnes of waste across the district since 2017; Margaret Burnard of Kensington whose commitment to the Whangārei RSA has contributed positively to the lives of many veterans, widows, and their families over the years; Lesley Paton of Whangārei who has gone above and beyond in her job as a carer for almost 40 years; and Gwladys Hardless of Morningside who at 82 remains a dedicated volunteer for the Clothesline op-shop where she has worked six days a week for 19 years.