Four local heroes will be honoured for their community work at a ceremony in Palmerston North in November.

Carla Donson, Kelly Scarrow, Merenia Donne and Robert Martin are all recipients of the Kiwibank Local Hero medal, part of the annual New Zealander of the Year award.

The Whanganui four were among 600 people nominated nationwide. The medal is given to those people who the 48 regional judges have made a significant contribution to the well-being of their communities.

Ms Donson has been the manager of the Women's Network Whanganui for the past 13 years. In August she was announced as one of the finalists in the Women of Influence awards.


Mrs Scarrow, currently working for Mainstreet Whanganui, is a former librarian whose work with knitting groups and book clubs in Whanganui has raised money for local charitable organisations.

Ms Donne is the founder of the Kotuku Foundation which trains and provides assistance dogs for people with medical conditions.

Mr Martin was diagnosed with brain damage at birth and spent much of his childhood in an institution. He is an author, speaker and advocate. Earlier this year he became the first person with a learning disability to stand for and be elected to the UN's Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The four will receive their medals at a ceremony in Palmerston North on November 24. The ceremony is open to the public, but booking is essential. If you wish to attend please email

The ceremony is one of 16 being held across the country.