Seeing her name on a Royal honours list is not a new experience for 85-year-old Kawakawa woman Noma Shepherd. She was named a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1997, but that by no means put a full stop to her contributions to her community.
She was in Auckland when she answered a phone call, which she expected to be about a medical appointment, and was pleasantly surprised to hear a representative from Government House on the other end of the line.
The call was to invite her to accept a second, higher honour, as 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," she said.
"The hardest thing was keeping it all quiet."
Shepherd chairs the Kawakawa Hundertwasser Memorial Park Trust, and performs a host of other roles within her community.
She was a key driver of the project to establish Te Hononga Hundertwasser Memorial Park building, a cultural centre opened by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in October last year, and she was quick to thank everyone involved in the project.
"There's been some terrific help along the way," she said.
"It's been quite a long journey one way or another, but interesting and exciting and challenging. I've really enjoyed it."
The honour, she said, was a reflection on everyone who had helped with everything she had 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," she added.
He contributions to Kawakawa and the Bay of Islands includes the creation of the famous Hundertwasser toilets, with the artist (Friedensreich Hundertwasser) himself, local school children and volunteers in 1999. At the time, Kawakawa was looking rundown, with banks and shops closing on the main street, and building the toilets seemed to turn that around.
"It lifted the spirits of people," she said.
"Now it's a different town altogether. Last time (1997) I said it was a buzz, and it's the same this time for the recognition of what everyone has 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."
She also chaired the Bay of Islands Community Board from 1997 to 2006, and was secretary and then chair of the Kawakawa Domain Board from 1997 to 2007. She joined the Hundertwasser trust in 2007 and became chair in 2011, overseeing the process of obtaining a site, developing a building design, and establishing memorandums of understanding with local councils, iwi and stakeholders.
She has been president of the Bay of Islands Senior Citizens' Club since 2003, has chaired the Kawakawa Memorial Museum Library Charitable Trust since 2009, was the area co-ordinator for the Cancer Society's Daffodil Day from 2005 to 2015, and has served six four-year terms as president of the Taumarere Ōpua Women's Institute.