Eleven of the Far North’s outstanding citizens were formally recognised for their volunteer contributions to their communities today (Friday 22nd February 2008).
The recognition came at the Far North District Council’s 2007/2008 Citizens Award ceremony at the Council Chambers in Kaikohe.
The Citizens Awards were instituted six years ago to acknowledge those who over long periods have selflessly worked to better the communities in which they live and work.
In total 10 awards were made, one of which was a joint award to a husband and wife team.
The recipients are:-
Jonnie (Huia) Thornton
A jovial 85-year-old Kaimaumau identity, Jonnie has touched the lives of just everybody in the community through her honesty, kindness and her devotion to help make the world a better place. She has voluntarily worked for the local charity shop for more years than most can remember, providing home-made jams, pickles and produce from her own kitchen and garden to help those in need. In recent years her commitment has remained in spite of indifferent health.
Her propensity to take in people in need of food and shelter also extends to stray or injured animals.
In her earlier years, Mrs Thornton was widely known in the district through her associations with the nursing profession.
Greg is a local businessman at Doubtless Bay who has been a tireless worker for his community, particularly in the areas of youth and safety. He has been involved with the Mangonui Volunteer Fire Brigade as Station Officer, is the acting chairman of the Far North Sea Rescue Trust, is the principal scout leader with the Doubtless Bay Scout & Guide Group, is a former president of the Eastern Rugby Football Club and has maintained an active role with local service clubs.
Through his enthusiasm and involvement, Greg played a major role in securing an ongoing future for the scout and guide movement in the Doubtless Bay area and was a founding member of the trust which initiated sea rescue services for the area.
Daphne Mary Cumber
A former president of Paihia Red Cross and foundation member of the Paihia Arts & Crafts Society, Daphne has maintained a lifetime involvement in community service in the Bay of Islands. This includes long periods of service with Far North District Libraries as a volunteer at the Williams House Paihia Library, with Community Mutual Aid (CMA), the Bay of Islands Probus singing group and in more recent times, the Paihia Haven of History Committee.
She served 19 years with Red Cross including nine years as president, and was actively involved in the Refugee Settlement to New Zealand programme, the Red Cross 'Granny' scheme, the jubilee year pohutukawa planting programme and in flood relief programmes over the years.
Daphne also served for many years as president of the local arts & crafts society, was awarded life membership in 1998 and is currently patron to the society. She has served in a variety of capacities with the St Paul's Anglican Church at Paihia.
A long-serving Kerikeri Lions Club member and volunteer humanitarian worker for a variety of organizations including St John, the Masonic Lodge and Hospice, Bruce has made his mark across the Kerikeri community for his commitment to the assistance of the sick and those less fortunate.
As an indication of the respect with which he is held, Bruce is a recipient of Lions International's most prestigious award, the Lloyd Morgan Trust Award for outstanding community service.
He served for many years as a volunteer driver with both St John Ambulance at Kerikeri and the local hospice. He is a former Masonic Lodge master and has been dedicated in particular to the lodge's welfare programmes.
Bruce is described by friends and associates as caring, dedicated and an outstanding contributor to his community.
Eric Harold Weber
Whether it is organizing a Christmas Parade, clearing debris from a flood-ravaged road or championing the cause of a sports or service club, Eric Weber has spent a lifetime organizing and supporting activities to enhance the Whangaroa community and make it a better place in which to live and work- without payment or reward.
He played a prominent part in establishing junior Rugby at Kaeo nearly 50 years ago and has maintained an involvement in the local Rugby club ever since. He helped clear the land to establish the Whangaroa Golf Club, helped establish the town's first playcentre, led the local badminton club and coached the junior squad for around 10
years, was Commodore and later secretary to the Whangaroa Boating Club, was
secretary, treasurer and president to the local branch of the Young Farmers Club, and supported tennis, table tennis and indoor basketball.
Eric spent 15 years with the Kaeo School PTA and Whangaroa College Board of Governors, and is a former president of the Kiwanis Club at Kaeo (now Whangaroa Service Club) and instrumental in organizing Christmas parades, old folk's events and fun runs.
He has rarely missed a working bee in the interests of his local community.
A substantial track record of support and involvement with young people and tangible support for initiatives to improve the well being of our communities has been instrumental in the Citizens Award for Pakaraka businessman and entrepreneur Martin Visser.
A former president of Bay of Islands Rotary, Martin was the co-founder of the Rotary Town & Country Student Exchange programme and initiated the highly successful Breakthrough in Excellence programme which enables teenagers from 14 Far North Schools to maximize their potential and opportunities. To date some 130 students and 16 teachers have participated in this rewarding programme.
Martin has been a driving force behind Rotary programmes for more than 35 years and has been instrumental in raising in excess of $100,000 for community projects over the last five years. He donated over $3000 worth of top soil and materials to assist the Lions/Rotary internal garden project at the Bay of Islands Hospital at Kawakawa and played a prominent role in assisting with the construction of the Okiato to Russell walkway.
He is recognized as "something of a hero" within the Asia Pacific region of The Pacific Institute which promotes and encourages ideals of excellence and achievement.
Over many years, Martin has provided effective, unobtrusive and generous help to the disadvantaged across the community.
For more than 20 years, Pattie Meldrum has maintained an active involvement in organizations with the welfare of Kawakawa at heart.
Her involvement and service ranges from the Kawakawa Playcentre Association and local school to the Kawakawa Business Association, St Paul's Anglican Parish Committee, the Kawakawa Community Trust and the current Go Kawakawa and Bay of Islands Vintage Railway projects.
Pattie has led by example in all her community roles, always striving to make improvements in the interests of the organization and the community at large. She has maintained an absolute conviction in Kawakawa's potential and is widely acknowledged as a genuine champion for the community. Over the years she has campaigned strongly to ensure the maintenance of health and hospital services in the town, and was instrumental in encouraging the construction of the town's now world-famous Hundertwasser toilets.
Pattie has also served as a chairperson of the former Kawakawa Community Board.
The ability to earn the respect of all those with whom he is associated has been the hallmark of the career of Jim Rouse of Rawene. A retired police officer, Jim has been a stalwart of the local community with particular interests in local Rugby, the RSA movement and Rawene Lions Club.
He has maintained a community involvement for more than 30 years including roles as a prime mover in the establishment and management of JMB Rugby and netball in the South Hokianga. In recognition of his commitment and services, he is a life member of both the Hokianga Rugby Sub Union and Hokianga RSA.
Jim is well known for his support to numerous young couples as a budget advisor.
A Justice of the Peace, he has also served with distinction as an elected member of the former Hokianga and more recently Western Community Boards.
Rawene kaumatua Bob Tito is described by his nominees as an outstanding and unselfish example of dedication to his community –a man of integrity and high principles.
Bob has always been willing to help the people of Rawene and across the Hokianga as a community leader and lay preacher.
Known throughout the Hokianga for his work with the RSA he has also been a strong supporter of community organizations in particular Rawene & Districts Community Development Inc, St John, local schools, kohanga reo and tertiary education organizations. Countless individuals have also benefited from his support and counseling.
Keith and Heather Ineson (joint award)
This Kaikohe couple are joint Citizens Award recipients, recognizing a lifetime of involvement with young people in the community, services to equestrian sports and their ongoing support and assistance in the development of the Kaikohe A P& H Association Showgrounds at Ngawha.
Keith has given 45 years unpaid service to the showgrounds as a worker, steward, administrator, and president. In 1992 Keith was awarded life membership of the association.
Heather has also given a lifetime of service to the showgrounds with a particular emphasis on the equestrian ring. Together with Keith, she was a founding member and served for many years as president of the Bay of Islands Dressage Group, has officiated across New Zealand as a dressage judge, has been instrumental in training and nurturing young riders and has been a prime mover in the establishment of all weather arena facilities at Ngawha. Heather was the first woman to be elected as president of the AP & H Association and has also been awarded life membership of the association.
The couple has been described by their peers as an outstanding team and as community "treasures."