A woman who ripped off a small-town rugby club while treasurer has been named a Kiwibank "Local Hero".
Louise Jill Hide was convicted in 2011 after she stole more than $4000 from Picton's Waitohi Rugby Football Club.
Hide admitted using a document for pecuniary advantage, obtaining by deception and two charges of stealing money from the club and was sentenced to 230 hours' community service and ordered to pay $5093.31 reparation, the Marlborough Express reported in 2011.
The newspaper also reported police prosecutor Graham Single said Hide, 46 at the time, showed no remorse for her actions.
Last month , the New Zealander of the Year Awards announced that Hide was among dozens chosen to receive a regional Kiwibank Local Heroes Award medal, to be presented at ceremonies before Christmas.
The award, of which Kiwibank is the principal sponsor, but which is run by the New Zealander of the Year Awards organisation, recognises those whose "selflessness and determination has made a difference in the community".
Medal winners are eligible for the national Local Hero Award, which is among six category winners — including New Zealander of the Year — to be announced at a gala dinner in February.
New Zealander of the Year Awards spokesman Geoff Griffin said in a statement Hide was recognised for her work setting up and managing Care Packages Marlborough.
According to posts on its Facebook page, the group distributes donated items to those in need, including those bereaved or struggling financially.
"The nomination is about the group's community Facebook page, through which 1700 generous locals donate items like school bags, drink bottles, sanitary and personal care packs for Marlborough's youth," Griffin said.
"Care Packages Marlborough arrange for their delivery to approximately 16 local colleges and intermediate schools."
Griffin said the award organisation was not aware of Hide's convictions, and confirmed that she had not yet been officially told of the honour.
"Previous or unrelated convictions do not undo the community work we recognise in the awards. We're comfortable with her receiving a Local Hero award."
After news of the awards was made public, Hide's fellow Care Packages Marlborough founder posted a screenshot of the announcement on the charity's Facebook page, tagging Hide.
"So proud Louise you deserve this," she wrote.
But Hide told the Herald on Sunday she didn't see the post. She also didn't know who nominated her.
Asked what she would say to anyone who thought she didn't deserve the award or accept it, Hide said she "didn't have any comment" yet.
"My past is my past and I'm trying to move on from that. But people like you, I guess, like to bring it up again and again and again, despite the good work that we do for Care Packages."
Hide and two others set up the charity in 2015 or 2016. She estimated 1000 had been helped since.
"Everything that's come in [donations], that's all been passed on."
They weren't a registered charity because "the process is too difficult".
"We're just a small group of three people. We don't need to be a registered charity."
A Department of Internal Affairs spokeswoman said charities do not have to register.
The Marlborough Express reported in 2011 Hide took the money in increments over about five years, and her deception included forging the signature of a woman who had nothing to do with the club.
Hide told the Herald on Sunday she wouldn't say why she took the money.
"If [people in the community] want to know, they can come and ask me."
Waitohi president Jimmy Giles, who was a committee member at the time of Hide's offending, was surprised by the honour.
"I know she does ... the care packages and I appreciate that stuff, but I do find it a little bit weird that someone who has been convicted [of such offending] could get an award like that."
The money taken came from grants, sponsors, fees and fundraising and was to be used for fuel vouchers for juniors' parents and player uniforms.
He confirmed Hide paid Waitohi back, but also thought she shouldn't accept the Local Hero award.
"If I was in her position, I don't think I could accept it . . . to get the accolade she's receiving, and in a small town like Picton, I think there would be some pretty unhappy people."