The day after the London Riots stopped, former Rotorua woman Emma Rigby said she was going to make her community better.

That's exactly what she did and today she will become the first New Zealand Citizen to receive a British Citizen Award at the Palace of Westminster in London.

Living in Enfield in London since 2003, the riots of August 2011 finally ended at the end of Rigby's street.

London riots. Photo / Getty Images
London riots. Photo / Getty Images

Her Rotorua parents, Neville and Alison Nicholson, were staying with Rigby at the time and her father vividly remembers his daughter saying she was going to do something to bring the community back together.


"The next day her neighbours and the local Enfield township were in a state of shock," Nicholson told the Rotorua Daily Post.

"It was then that Emma said, 'I am going to get people to start talking to one another'."

The mother of two started a company called Love your Doorstep and it quickly
established itself as the go-to place to connect with local Enfieldians, find out what's on or discuss local issues.

Rigby told the Rotorua Daily Post her community spirit came from growing up in Rotorua.

"Rotorua is all about community and you don't realise until you're not there, living in another part of the world, how special that is."

She said she was "honoured" to get the award.

"Years of hard work and dedication have gone into Love your Doorstep and for that work to be recognised is amazing."

The Love Your Doorstep won the National FSB & World Pay Community Business of the Year Award in 2017, the Enfield Business of the Year Award through the FSB in 2014 and the Enfield Innovation Competition in 2013.


The Enfield community now has a website where the 25,000 locals have somewhere businesses can become part of the goods and services directory.

Protesters and riot police clash during the London Riots. Photo / Getty Images
Protesters and riot police clash during the London Riots. Photo / Getty Images

Rigby has also been the driving force behind setting up a community patrol scheme that was a response to a wave of muggings and robberies on local secondary school children.

The group acts as the eyes and ears for police to keep the public safe and has received national media coverage. Rigby planned to push the scheme out to other areas of the borough with the hope to roll it out nationally.

Nicholson said he and Alison were "very, very proud of Emma's achievements".

Their daughter was the last person to win the Rotorua Miss Thermal Land contest in 1997.

"Ali and I attended the London City Business awards with Emma and her team in 2015 when her company was a finalist."

He said they were lucky enough to see their daughter and grandchildren at least once a year and she spent last Christmas in Rotorua.

Family friend and former Rotorua mayor Grahame Hall said he had known Rigby since she was a child and described her as "a wonderful woman".

He said her achievements were a testament to the Nicholsons who were outstanding Rotorua residents and her award was a big achievement not only for her family but Rotorua and New Zealand.

"Neville and Alison have raised some incredible children and they have always been a community-spirited family."

Hall said Rigby always had a caring nature.

"She is not afraid to go that extra yard to take chances. She has gone a long way in the world because that is the way she is."