There were no medals, bars or trophies, but a number of people who give more than most to the Karikari Peninsula were acknowledged when the Karikari Fire Brigade staged its first honours night in 9 years on Saturday.
Chief Fire Officer Thomson Lawrence began the evening by saying that the brigade wished to acknowledge other volunteers in the community, people who sometimes went unappreciated but did so much to make the community such a good one to be part of.
Tony Gillespie, chairman of the Civil Defence Defence Committee, was one of those people, as was Bertha Yerkovich, who earlier this year was elected to chair the Karikari Community Hall Committee.
She was almost reduced to tears when she was acknowledged and offered the microphone, saying it was "such an honour" to be in her position and to be working with a "good community to get so much done."
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Also on the list were former Mangonui Chief Fire Officer Ant Pederson, Haititaimarangai Marae Trust chairman Innes Rupapera, and Donna Koele (whose partner, Del, accepted the accolade on her behalf), one of the "gardening ladies" who planted the small garden on the corner of Inland and Simon Urlich roads, and restored it after it was vandalised.
Mat Urlich was acknowledged as a founding member of the Karikari Fire Brigade, who recalled the very early days when the equipment comprised a pump, delivered by Bruce Rogers on behalf of the Mangonui County Council, as was Evan McKay, one of the driving forces behind the Tokerau Beach and Whatuwhiwhi Residents' and Ratepayers' Association's CCTV project, which even in its early stages was credited by police with reducing reported crime by 80 per cent.
The project had started with a "pretty handsome donation" from Barry and Ngaire Kernot, McKay said, the community subsequently raising $70,000, with a number of Far North towns, from Kerikeri to Awanui and Ahipara, now wanting to follow the peninsula's example.