Civic & Community Awards recognise local volunteers
Volunteer groups and individuals have been honoured for their dedication to the community with civic, mayoral and community awards.
At a function in the Paraparaumu Golf Club, four Civic Awards and one Mayoral Award were presented by Mayor Ross Church. Six groups received a Wellington Airport Regional Community Award from Wellington Community Trust’s Norrey Simmons with six more groups acknowledged as highly commended by Leanne Gibson of Wellington International Airport.
“These people put a huge amount of time and effort into their communities and it’s great to be able to recognise their valuable contribution,” Mayor Ross Church said.
The Civic Awards recognise those who have contributed to the community through hard work or who have achieved outstandingly as individuals in their chosen field. Recipients of these awards were Mark & Jackie Kennedy, Shelly Warwick, Helen Guthrie and Sue Emirali.
A Mayoral Award went to Michael Peryer for his outstanding efforts to promote the Waikanae Estuary with the writing and publication of two books, a monthly newsletter and a website.
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 a new category this year - rising star. Winners and those highly commended in these awards were:
Heritage & Environment
Winner Discover Kapiti Heritage Group
Highly commended Matai Community Garden
Health & Wellbeing
Winner Volunteer Kapiti
Highly commended Kapiti Community Foodbank Inc
Sports & Leisure
Winner Kapiti Coast United Sports Club (also Supreme Award Winner and will represent Kāpiti in the regional awards)
Highly commended Otaki Kite Festival/Otaki Promotions Group
Education & Child/Youth Development
Winner Waikanae Boating Club
Highly commended Kapiti Parents Centre
Arts & Culture
Winner Kapiti Concert Orchestra
Highly commended Kapiti Brass Band
Winner The Shed Project
Highly commended All Star Victory Cheerleaders
Civic Award winners
Mark & Jackie Kennedy:
Mark and Jackie of New World Ōtaki have supported many organisations, groups, clubs and individuals in the greater Ōtaki area to fundraise by making their premises available or by giving them vast amounts of their products to fundraise with. That fundraising has ensured many organisations such as the Otaki Surf Club, Otaki Rotary club, Otaki Police, Maori Women’s Welfare League, Red Cross Collection and Otaki Foodbank to continue to provide services in the community. There are many events in Ōtaki where food platters have also been provided by the pair. Community Constable Moore says he has had a number of dealings with Mark and Jackie during his time in Ōtaki and has always found them willing to help the community in whatever way they can, particularly youth. Recently he ran a program out of Otaki College called CACTUS which is based along military lines. He approached Mark and Jackie about help with feeding 24 students, three times a week for eight weeks. They were more than willing to oblige and donated a significant number of food items, allowing the budget for the course to be spent on other items. Constable Moore also mentions the couple have donated much of their time and business to helping other community projects which go largely unrecognised.
Shelly is the epitome of ‘being of service’ to the community. She is always at the forefront of organising fundraising events and puts everything into making them successful. Chairing meetings, chasing down items on to-do lists, negotiating with Council and NZTA, coaching sports teams, looking after other people’s children - Shelly does it all in her ‘anything’s possible, high- energy’ way. Shelly was born & bred in Ōtaki. After her schooling there, she headed off to do nursing training followed by her big OE. After a few years in Australia, she returned to her home town 15 years ago and has been heavily involved in many parts of the community since. She is a key driver in making sports, activities and facilities available for a broad cross-section of people. She was also the driving force for the Ōtaki Kids Safe Crossing Group, which has provided the community with a safe option for crossing the increasingly busy highway. Along with the new speed indication device signs encouraging traffic to slow down in this 50km area, the group has opened up safer opportunities for children and families to travel to and from Waitohu School and Ōtaki College without the need of a car. Shelly is also involved in the Otaki Athletics, Otaki Soccer and Otaki Surf Lifesaving clubs.
Helen is being presented with this award for her outstanding service to chamber music and gardening. Helen has been a member of the Waikanae Music Society since 1984, when she moved to the Kāpiti Coast from Wellington. Since 1990, she has been a committed and effective president for the society for 25 years, instrumental in improving and modernising a number of systems. Helen also played a pivotal role in the purchase of the Italian-built Fazioli piano in 2011, which has enabled the society to attract internationally acclaimed pianists to this part of the world. On the gardening front, during her time as President of the Kapiti Camellia Society, Helen expanded the society’s activities to promoting gardening to the community. She has also been president and branch secretary of the Kapiti Branch of the New Zealand Camellia Society - a highlight being organising the National Camellia show in Waikanae in 2009 – and has been a member of the National Council of the Camellia Society, judging camellia blooms throughout the North Island. Additionally, she is an expert on roses being a local and national judge at shows for 30 years, and speaking at meetings across the lower North Island. Helen was president of the Wellington and Kapiti Rose Societies for many years, including hosting a very successful national rose show and convention in Waikanae.
Sue Emirali is legally blind, progressively having lost her sight since she was aged four due to a hereditary factor. Sue is tireless in her advocacy and representation for those affected by disability with a willingness to help anyone in need, progress better facilities and an environment which will enhance their daily life. She has been a member of Retina New Zealand for eighteen years and is currently the vice president. This organisation is dedicated to fighting blindness, the emphasis being on preventing people becoming blind and building awareness through education for those progressively losing their sight. In 2014, Sue became a kaituitui for the Disabled Persons Assembly - one of 15 nationally - which she says has given her the opportunity to interact more with disabled people in her community. She is also the Chairperson of the Kapiti Accessibility Advisory Group and the Kapiti representative on the Greater Wellington Regional Council Accessibility Advisory Group.
Mayoral Award winner
On retiring to Waikanae, Michael wrote a book called ‘Tales of the Waikanae Estuary’ to promote the waterway and the wildlife in and around it. Since then, over the last eight years, he has taken his stories of the estuary to thousands of adults and children from Wellington to the Hawke’s Bay, talking once a month on local radio Beach FM and weekly recordings on Access Radio. He also writes a monthly newsletter. A hundred issues later, it has become extremely popular. He wrote a second book ‘Whatever Next’ which features stories from those newsletters. His website on the subject also has thousands of hits each month and people from all over the world correspond with him. Lastly, Michael is a founding member of the Waikanae Estuary Care Group which has planted over 46,000 plants within the estuary to date.
Wellington Airport Regional Community Award winners
Arts & Culture winner - Kapiti Concert Orchestra:
The Kapiti Concert Orchestra gives local musicians (about 50+ in all) the opportunity to be part of a local orchestra, to rehearse and perform classical music within a structured concert programme. The orchestra includes musicians of all ages - those who are more experienced along with emerging talents. The orchestra also brings classical music concerts to the Kapiti Coast at an affordable cost which enables the local community to access concerts they would normally have to travel to Wellington or Palmerston North to see. In addition, they perform light classical music to community groups such as retirement homes. These concerts are very popular as they bring music to residents who may not be mobile enough to attend concerts elsewhere. The orchestra enjoys working with the Kapiti Youth Orchestra and students, realising the importance of mentoring and encouraging young musicians.
Education & Child Youth Development winner - Waikanae Boating Club:
The Waikanae Boating Club was established in 1970 and was built by local volunteers. This club, comprising approximately 400 members, provides services for boat owners and fishermen. For the past three years, the club has organised a ‘Fishing For Youth’ event for up to 20 young people between the ages of 10 - 14. Each year a different group of young people are targeted. This year the participants were selected from the following organisations: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, Birthright and The Blue Light Group in Otaki. In past years, the participants have been chosen from local schools. Each young participant received clothing, fishing rod and tackle box, breakfast, lunch, BBQ dinner and at least 2kg of filleted fish including minced paua to take home. Each boat owner received fuel vouchers. The fishing day for these young people was a great success. By mid-afternoon, all of them had caught a wide variety of fish and returned to shore. The excitement and tales back in the club said it all!
Health & Wellbeing winner - Volunteer Kapiti:
Volunteer Kapiti is the only volunteer centre on the Kapiti Coast that promotes and supports volunteering. The centre connects volunteers (both individuals and groups) with a variety of opportunities throughout Kapiti to provide them with work experience, new skills, new ideas, connections and the chance to make a difference in their community. The volunteers help non-profit organisations, clubs, schools and community groups by increasing their capability and diversity so they can achieve their objectives. The centre also provides training in topics relating to volunteer management to assist community organisations recruit and retain quality volunteers as well as promote best practice volunteer management. The centre empowers the unemployed to gain skills, confidence and connections to help find paid employment; supports non-profit organisations by recruiting volunteers, enabling them to focus time and efforts on their core functions; assists those who are new to the community and those who want to give back by connecting them with volunteering opportunities; helps the Council and WREMO with volunteer-supported initiatives that allow communities to become sustainable and resilient; and works to strengthen its relationship with local colleges to promote volunteering to young people.
Heritage & Environment category winner - Discover Kapiti Heritage Group:
Discover Kapiti Heritage Group comprises the Otaki Museum, the Kapiti Coast Museum in Waikanae, Mahara Gallery, Southward Car Museum, Aviation Museum in Paraparaumu, Wellington Tramway Museum at Queen Elizabeth Park, Steam Incorporated and Paekakariki Station Museum. Established in October 2013, the group has made the Kāpiti community more aware of the heritage we have within our district. It is run by a management committee consisting of representatives from each of the participating museums. The Discover Kapiti Heritage Day event itself involves over 40 volunteers working at the eight museums on Wellington Anniversary Day. Many of them dressed in period costume for the day, as they welcomed and hosted visitors, provided information on specific historical facts, and collected data for a survey as each visitor passed through the door. Survey results show the event in January 2015 attracted visitors from both within and outside the district of all age groups. Many of them were unaware of the treasured stories and artefacts our museums hold and have returned to find out more.
Sport & Leisure category winner - Kapiti Coast United Sports Club:
Kapiti Coast United provides safe, fun and competitive opportunities for children, men and women who want to play football. The club has over 700 members and many hundreds more parents and supporters who care about its success. As a hub in the community, the club also provides a vital focal point for increasingly disjointed communities. Many a Saturday you can find children and parents, players and supporters mixing happily in a friendly, safe club environment. Its junior and senior sides playing in competitive leagues are playing well, and its top men’s team was promoted to the Capital Premier League this season. Other members, simply playing for the love of the game, are enjoying a rewarding club experience. The club won this year’s Kapiti Club of the Year and Wellington Region Club of the Year sports awards. However, the hands down best achievement of the last 12 months has been the way the club has pulled through from an arson attack in May last year. For many clubs it may have been a death knell but because of its strong spirit and good management, this club was able to bounce back quickly and looks better than ever.
Rising Star category winner - The Shed Project
The Shed Project provides educational and social opportunities for young adults who have an intellectual disability or have exited the state education system. It offers NZQA accredited education courses and hands-on vocational training in woodwork, craft work and toy making. The aim is that by learning new skills, these young people will have increased self-esteem and confidence hopefully leading to paid employment. The Shed Project also offers recreational events from time to time in the form of fishing and camping trips, as well as social events. Additionally it anticipates providing a drop-in centre run by the people who access the service in future. The focus is on working to create social change through the encouragement and support of a shift in attitude towards people who have a disability. This paves the way for people who are differently abled to achieve personal goals, live more independently and enjoy happy, healthy and meaningful lives.