Celebrating the outstanding contributions of our local residents and organisations to our communities in 2019.
Wellington Airport Regional Community Award winners (Kāpiti) 2018
The Wellington Airport Regional Community Awards focus on volunteer groups in the categories of Heritage & Environment, Health & Wellbeing, Arts & Culture, Sports & Leisure, Education & Child/Youth Development, and Rising Star. Winners and those highly commended in these awards were:
Heritage & Environment
Winner Low Carbon Kapiti
Highly commended Greendale Reserve Volunteers
Health & Wellbeing
Winner Champions of Kāpiti
Highly commended Ōtaki Volunteer Fire Brigade
Sports & Leisure
Winner The Web Genius Kapiti Run for Youth
Highly commended Ōtaki Golf Club Junior Section
Education & Child/Youth Development
Winner Shed Project Avalanche Band (also Supreme Award Winner and will represent Kāpiti in the regional award)
Highly commended Kapiti Youth Achievement Trust
Arts & Culture
Winner Māoriland Hub
Highly commended Waikanae Musical Society
Winner Little Sprouts Kapiti Branch
Highly commended Cobblers
Civic Award winners 2018
The Civic Awards recognise those who have contributed to the community through hard work or who have exceptional achievements as individuals in their chosen field. Mary Carrington, Graham Petterson, Viola Palmer, and Mark Amery received these Civic Awards, while Len Taylor was honoured with the Mayoral Award.
Mary has been involved in the day-to-day activities of Te Nikau training centre for over 20 years. She seeks funding grants, supports students, organising appointments for them with health professionals and government organisations. She works tirelessly behind the scenes doing the shopping, helping support students and their family members, gardening, fundraising, and by doing whatever is required to aid the organisation and the students.
This quiet, unassuming woman has impacted the lives of hundreds of people over the years of dedication that she has given to Te Nikau training centre. Every student (and family) who has been through the Te Nikau Centre remains a friend of Mary’s to whom she goes out of her way to offer support and encouragement. Mary shows people with addiction an alternative drug-free life, walking with and supporting them every step of the way. She doesn't judge and encourages those who fall down or backtrack to continue to strive for a better way of life.
Mary is a woman who supports others when many people her age are enjoying the relaxation of retirement. She always thinks of others, despite her own demanding health needs. She is positive and loving despite her cumbersome work load. When establishing Te Nikau training centre, Mary and her husband, Peter, financed the centre - so great was their commitment. Mary has sacrficied on a personal level to continue to fund the work of the centre. She makes herself available seven days a week, 24-hours a day to those who need her help or support.
Graeme has given at least 30 years, if not more, to growing and planting a wide range of native plants (including many that are very difficult to propagate) for use in local reserves. The numbers are in their many thousands (if not millions) across the Kāpiti region. As a lifetime horticulturalist, he has worked with local reserves to find the best ecosystem for a given area (for example: dune planting, wetland, lowland, etc.).
This planting has radically improved the environment of the region. Without it, the region would be a much poorer place. It’s a task which goes unnoticed because it’s a slow and labourious one, but the results cannot be praised highly enough.
Graeme is the holder of an Old Blue - Forest and Bird's highest honour. Graeme has been a member of the Forest and Bird since1939. He is now 90 years old.
Graeme has been growing plants for many years; the Council has paid for some of the plants, but countless others have been provided out of his own pocket and time – a cost of many tens of thousands of dollars over time. He has reached the age now that he is no longer able to do much of what he did so much of in the past.
But what an in valuable contribution he has made to the Kāpiti Coast.
Mark Amery has a strong interest in art development and is a proponent of multiple community-led initiatives within the Paekākāriki village. He has a rare gift of bringing diverse people together to realise large-scale projects, while keeping the heart of these initiatives firmly in community ownership. His tireless volunteer work in Paekākāriki has enhanced and enriched the daily lives of hundreds of locals. He is the founding programme manager of Paekākāriki 88.2FM,a not-for-profit volunteer-run radio station produced for thecommunity by the community, run under the auspices of Paekākāriki Informed Community, former publisher of community newspaper Paekākāriki Xpressed.
Mark is also a founding member and communications manager for the Paekākāriki Housing Trust, a group of locals looking for innovative, practical, win-win solutions to housing difficulties in Paekākāriki. Formed in 2016, the trust recently made their first property purchase with the help of community investors.
Mark’s latest community endeavour, Paekākāriki Online— a website about Paekākāriki by Paekākāriki — is due to go live in a few months.
Again, it is under his strong editorial eye, leadership, and vision that projects like this are born. Another high-quality information platform, rich in community ownership, is about to land.
Mark’s service has helped to strengthen the village and visitors to it.
Paekākāriki 88.2FM, Paekākāriki Online, and the Paekākāriki Housing Trust celebrate and draw on independence and collective ownership. The addition of a local radio to our village has added entertainment and information, encouraged discussion, and strengthened ties with diverse neighbours.
Viola’s generous volunteer work has improved and greatly added to the quality of life on the Kāpiti Coast. Viola has contributed deeply to the quality of the natural ecosystem by providing:
Manual labour to clear stream and surrounding fields of weeds and rubbish; planting native bush and trees; coordinating with the Council on matters such as maintenance, stream erosion, and the development of pathways; and through acting as an advocate for the continuation of the bush reserve to link up with the Waikanae River.
Viola’s innate enthusiasm, doggedness, and vision, along with significant volunteer service, has contributed to iimproving the Kāpiti environment. Flora, fauna, and people have benefited from the efforts Viola and her team of volunteers have put in.
Greendale Reserve is essential to the ecosystem because it provides a linked pathway for bird life, which is a safe corridor from the hills to the beach.The existence of the native bush reserve adds to the outdoor experience for Kāpiti residents and tourists alike. For 20 years, Viola has given her time as a volunteer to native bush restoration projects, and, in doing so, has raised public awareness of the serious issues of land neglect.
Viola has been an active and leading advocate for native bush restoration, while creating a delightful bush reserve for all to enjoy. Viola enthusiastically gets out there and gives her best while using her own resources to buy significant trees. Because of Viola’s long term commitment to the Greendale Reserve Project, we now have a suitable habitat for native birds and insects in which to thrive, adding to the beauty and sustainability of the Kāpiti Coast District. Viola, Phil, and the team have, alongside Kāpiti Council Parks and Reserve, provided resources for maintenance of the bush including pathways and suitable access points.
Viola is an outstanding example of what can be achieved for our community with consistent effort and positive focus. She has commitment, persistence, and works hard to create an outdoor environment for all to enjoy. She has created a pocket-sized treasure on our doorstep.
It is difficult to compare her to other contributors. In many ways, Viola’s work is unique, but I would say she stands out in our community in her own right. Anyone can go along to Greendale Reserve to see what her contribution has done to improve the Kāpiti Coast environment.
The Mayoral Award – Len Taylor
Mayor K Gurunathan said: 'The Mayoral choice of Len Taylor is framed by my recognition of the increasing national debate on the status of Māori culture. And even the question of how do you define if someone is a Māori. Whether Māori can be defined by DNA or more by one's ability to whakapapa to an ancestral marae rather than a minuscule smidgen of Polynesian DNA.
Len Taylor is an enigma because he cannot claim to have a strand of Polynesian DNA, nor can he whakapapa to an ancestral marae.
Yet, he has been able to make the journey into the heartland of Māori identity. The place of a tohunga whakairo, or traditional carver, in Māori tribal society is a sacred one. The ability of a tohunga whakairo to manage the cultural and physical storyline of iwi, hapu, and whanau is tapu and fraught with challenges and danger.