Seen around town mowing lawns, dropping off firewood and fixing fences, Raetihi's Jim Edmonds has been recognised for his service.

The Uenuku Charitable Trust nominated the kaumātua for the Waiouru-Waimarino Citizens Award, and the Waiouru-Waimarino Community Board chose him.

His nominators said Mr Edmonds was an "unsung hero" who had a positive, can-do attitude and had made a huge contribution to his own people and to the community.

Asked how he felt about it, the former Golden Shears winner said he was more surprised about the announcement than anyone. Then the message went out on Facebook, and everyone seemed to know about it.


"I was just about frightened to walk outside. It was embarrassing, to a point."

He's got used to it now, and said he's still five foot eight inches high and getting on with whatever he's doing. On Thursday, it was a bit of fencing he wanted to finish.

Mr Edmonds has lived in Raetihi all his life and he keeps busy to avoid boredom. He's sheared, fenced, logged and farmed for others, and on his own Ruakaka Farm.

He's also been on a few boards; the Atihau-Whanganui Incorporation, the Morikau Incorporation and the Federation of Māori Authorities. He's been elected to the Waimarino and Ruapehu councils, chaired Raetihi Marae and been a cultural adviser to Winstone Afforestation.

He took an interest in politics while Helen Clark was in Parliament. He had reporter friends and got to sit in the parliamentary press gallery once a month.

"I wanted to see if government ministers were any different from how we see things out here. I got invited to a few occasions in the Beehive," he said.

Mr Edmonds has five children, 13 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, but he and his wife Patsy have raised and supported many others.

"He really represents the spirit of our community in all his endeavours," his nominators said.