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Volunteers recognised for contribution to community – Kaipara District Council

Four Kaipara citizens have been recognised for their services to the community at the annual Kaipara Citizen’s Awards.

Peter Hames, Noel Moran, Tui Hutchinson and Colin Gallagher each received an award, presented by Mayor Craig Jepson, at the ceremony at the Dargaville Lighthouse.

Peter Hames was first to receive his award that recognised what he has achieved in Paparoa. Peter is the current Chair the Progressive Paparoa committee, leading the development of a new strategic plan. Nominated by Vicki Hilton and Ellisia Cleave, he was recognised for his loyalty to older members of the community and his enthusiasm for engaging younger members in sport. Among other things, Peter has fundraised to build the all-weather track and fitness stations at the showgrounds, runs the weekly table tennis club (organising free coaching for teenagers), and helps organise the annual pioneer luncheon for older residents and the annual fun run. He also serves as a member of the Lions and Hall committees.

Peter said he was just one of Team Paparoa, he is very proud of their community unity, and they were turning it into a great place. Five Paparoa community groups wrote to the Council in support of Peter’s nomination. Noel Moran was recognised for his voluntary activities over the last fifty years. After thirty years volunteering with the Dargaville fire brigade he was made a life member. For the last twenty years he has been serving as a Justice of the Peace and can often be seen at the golf club with his official stamp. He is an active member of the Dargaville Lions Club, where he has held every role. An avid sportsperson, Noel also helps administer the Cricket, Rugby, Squash and Golf clubs where he is a member.

Noel says you don’t do these things to get rewards. You do it for the feeling you get when doing it.

“My father taught me what it means to be a member of the community. You have to give something back,” says Noel. Tui Hutchinson is a respected and loved Kaiako with tamariki in Te Kopuru and Dargaville. As a teacher, first at Selwyn Park Primary School, now at Te Kopuru School and mother of four children she is already busy. She also finds time to organise after-school activities for tamariki in the community to keep them positively occupied. As an example, recently Tui facilitated an after-school sports and recreation programme for all children that involved learning skills for a wide range of sports, including softball, touch, league, and athletics. This was rounded out with a sausage sizzle.

Tui said she grew up in a family of seven and is “just trying to provide opportunities for our tamariki that I didn’t have.” Her speech was supported by an energetic haka performed by around twenty pupils from Te Kopuru Primary School.

Colin Gallagher was nominated by Mayor Craig Jepson for an Honorary Mayoral Citizens Award, recognising his role as the driving force behind the development of the Mangawhai Activity Zone (MAZ). Colin’s vision and fundraising has led to the development of a first-class playground for kids and parents to enjoy. The activity zone provides a national and international venue for skateboard competitions. The park boasts a European pirate ship, a senior and junior pump track, a gym circuit, a multisport court, flying fox, barbeque facilities and many other fun-making activities. Colin also gets on the end of a spade or scrubbing brush to help keep the facilities in prime condition. In his ‘free time’ Colin helped build the Gumdiggers’ Track, supported the Mangawhai Santa Parades and Christmas Concerts and secured funding for MAZ facilities.

Colin acknowledged the collaborative efforts from volunteers and supports of MAZ over the years. He said the park is significant as a gathering place, that was important to preserve for future generations. He attributed this to community enthusiasm and project successes.

John Phillis acknowledged Colin’s work saying you need someone to direct the group, willing volunteers, and money to realise the vision. Colin had the business acumen needed to source funding and make things happen.

Mayor Jepson closed by recognising the work people do for our community, saying he is hopeful for the future.

“There is a strong will for localism and what the community can do for itself. People don’t work for thanks. They do it because they care about their community and their families,” says Mayor Jepson.

Award winners received a certificate, Citizens Award pin, flowers, and a small kauri tree.


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