It's great to at last recognise those who, through their service and commitment, have had such a positive impact on our communities through 2020/21.
It was great to at last recognise those who, through their service and commitment, have had such a positive impact on our communities through the COVID-19 pandemic. Without the contributions of these groups and individuals the impacts would be far greater.
The following people received Civic Awards at an event on Wednesday 4 August.
Rupene Waaka – Mayoral Award recipient
Rupene Waaka has a long history of service to his Iwi, Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga, his hapū, the Kāpiti community, and New Zealand, having served 20 years in the Royal New Zealand Navy. He’s been trustee at Tainui Marae and Tainui Urupa (Ōtaki) since 1988, and held numerous other influential positions.
Rupene represented Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga and was one of the signatories for Raukawa at the first signing of the Memorandum of Partnership between Council and mana whenua (people with ‘authority over the land’) on the Kāpiti Coast on 9 February 1994. This memorandum established an independent advisory forum for the partnership, and in 1995 it was Rupene who presented a choice of names, with the three Iwi deciding on ‘Te Whakaminenga’ meaning ‘The Confederation’, to describe themselves, adding o Kāpiti (of Kapiti) to include the Council.
Since its beginnings, Rupene has been a valued member of Te Whakaminenga o Kāpiti and has held the role of Chairperson since 2013. Rupene has also served our community in his capacity as a Justice of the Peace and a marriage celebrant since 2005.
Helen Keivom – Civic Awards recipient
Helen is an unsung hero who just loves to give back to the Paekākāriki community. She was a member of the Paekākāriki Community Board for two terms, she has organised the Paekākāriki Fair for five years, Paekākāriki in the Park music festivals for more than three years, and countless other events.
Helen commitment to the Paekākāriki community knows no bounds. During the COVID-19 lockdown Helen worked tirelessly to keep the Paekākāriki community safe and connected – the people of Paekākārki valued Helen’s mahi so much, they deemed her an “essential worker”.
Peter Blackler – Civic Award recipient
Peter cares about the welfare and wellbeing of older people in our community, especially the men from MenzShed Kāpiti. During COVID-19 lockdown Peter wasn’t shy in maintaining contact with MenzShed members, making sure they had what they needed and were coping with COVID-19 alert level restrictions.
Peter is well known for his leadership, compassion and kindness, and work to support health initiatives across the district. Peter’s a founding member of the suicide prevention group and if that wasn’t enough, he’s also an active member of the Waikanae Community Patrol.
Joseph Te Wiata – Civic Award winner
Joseph’s generous with his time and energy, especially when it benefits his community. Those who shopped at New World Ōtaki during COVID-19 lockdown will know Joseph and his trademark grin. Temporarily swapping managing his gym, Body and Soul, for life as an essential worker, Joseph ensured shoppers maintained physical distancing, and sanitised trolleys with his own brand of kindness.
Joseph runs an exercise group for recovering stroke victims, which he’s done for more than 14 years. Joseph is one of the good guys, shown by the many supporters who took time to support his nomination.
Cobblers Lunch Group – Civic Award recipients
The Cobblers Lunch group is all about locals supporting locals. This amazing group of volunteers have been making and serving soup for the Ōtaki community every Thursday for the last four years. The group have created a friendly space where friendships are built and there’s a sense of pride and belonging for all.
During COVID-19 Alert Level 2 the group kept up the good mahi and delivered soup to older people in their homes, a service they continue to provide to the present day.
Wellington Airport Regional Community Awards
Winners and those highly commended in these awards for 2021 are:
Arts and culture – Winner: Pickle Pot Be-In
The Pickle Pot Be-In is a substance-free all-day music festival operated by some very inspiring rangatahi, who juggled school, work and sport to make it happen.
From its humble beginnings in 2020, where the festival attracted 25 attendees, the event has grown in popularity, attracting more than 500 festival-goers in 2021.
All resources for this festival came from op shops, tip shops and their parents’ basements, and koha received at the concert was donated to Kāpiti Youth Support.
Highly commended: Coast Access Radio
Education and child/youth development and Supreme Award – Winner: Te Ara Korowai
Te Ara Korowai is a community mental health and wellbeing creativity hub. They offer a range of creative classes, wellbeing workshops and peer support, supporting individuals navigating back to mental wellness.
Volunteers are the heart of this service and Te Ara Korowai couldn’t operate without them. The skills, knowledge and experience they offer enrich and better the lives of all members.
For many members, this centre is their only support system, and the staff and volunteers work to reduce isolation in people with mental health needs and disabilities in our community.
Highly commended: SeniorNet Kapiti
Health and wellbeing – Winner: L’Arche Kāpiti
L'Arche Kāpiti is an intentional community for people with and without intellectual disabilities, located in Paraparaumu. It has two homes and a day activity centre.
L'Arche Kāpiti supports people to learn from one another and build long-lasting relationships. With volunteers from St Vincent de Paul, L’Arche Kāpiti is now growing fruit and vegetables and distributing them to those in need in Paraparaumu East.
Members with a disability in L’Arche Kāpiti often have roles in the wider community, showing that with the right support and encouragement we can all achieve our dreams.
Highly commended: Ōtaki Foodbank and Ōtaki St John Shuttle
Heritage and environment and Rising Star – Winner: Zero Waste Ōtaki
In 2018 members of the Ōtaki community decided to repurpose good wood that was going to landfill, to reduce waste. Despite being slowed down by COVID-19, they set up the Zero Waste Ōtaki Trust and, with Council support, established a site at the back of the Ōtaki transfer station.
Thanks to the hard work of volunteers, the public can now drop off unwanted timber and purchase both wood suitable for firewood and upcycled wooden items, on Wednesdays and the last Sunday of each month.
Sport and leisure – Winner: Kāpiti Bears Rugby League Club
In 2019, the club’s new committee decided to refurbish their clubrooms and revitalise rugby league in Kāpiti. Local businesses and volunteers helped refurbish the clubroom, started a recruitment drive targeting local schools – and a Junior School Rugby League Tournament.
Club coaches and volunteers took time off work to run skill sessions in schools, and more than 2,050 tamariki from 10 local schools took part over 14 days. This has provided a healthy outlet for youth participation in team sports, and revitalised rugby league locally, contributing to regionwide growth of the sport.
Highly commended: Community Sports Bank (Wellington City Mission)