Eleven people have received Far North District Council Citizen Awards this year for services to their communities.
Those honoured at a ceremony hosted by Mayor Wayne Brown at the Far North District Council’s chambers in Kaikohe last week were:
Toia Baker (Waimamaku) who used her wages from a cleaning job at Opononi Area School to buy equipment for the Waiotemarama sports complex which she helped to develop
Colin Campbell (Waipapakauri) who has provided valuable services to the community as a member of numerous groups including Red Cross Cadets, St John, Ninety Mile Beach Charitable Trust and Far North Avocado Trust
Brian Dawson (Kaitaia) who has used his tractors and equipment to support school and community projects, including the construction of the Awaroa Road walkway
Anthea Goodwin (Mangonui) who has done volunteer work for many environmental groups and set aside land she owns at Kohumaru, Berghan Point and Tokerau Beach for conservation
Ron Hallett (Kaitaia) who has made a huge contribution to Kaitaia Library since arriving in the area in 1989
William Ineson (Kaikohe) who has played a key role in developing the Kaikohe Pioneer Village into an open-air museum and tourist attraction that is visited by people from all over the world
Thomson Lawrence (Tokerau Beach) who started surf rescue at Tokerau, helped raise money to build Karikari Hall and is the local fire chief
Dene Preston (Waimamaku) who has been a member of the Omapere Volunteer Fire Brigade for 36 years, 10 years of which he has been the brigade’s chief
Boy Yates (Kaitaia) who has supported Ngawha Prison inmates and their whanau, lobbied for better road safety and for seal extensions outside marae and helped people in his community
The late John (Prickles) de Ridder (Kerikeri) and William Macrae (Kaitaia) who served the community as fire fighters and died fighting a scrub fire at Karikari Peninsula last year.
Mayor Brown said those receiving the awards joined a long list of award recipients of whom the district could be proud.
“We’re very lucky as a district to have such strong members of our community.”
The awards to helicopter pilot John de Ridder and Kaitaia DOC worker William Macrae were the first posthumous citizen awards the council had issued.
“They came to national prominence in a way neither of them expected and their deaths brought great sadness on our community.”
Mr Macrae’s partner Jenny Larson said William would have been excited and humbled to have received the award.
She described William as a perfectionist who sometimes spent days away from home fighting fires.
“He came back absolutely knackered and as black as the inside of a chimney.”
John de Ridder’s employer Salt Air chief executive Grant Harnish said John was always helping other people and he richly deserved the citizen award.
However, he would have been a reluctant recipient of the award.
“Posthumously is the only way Prickles would have had it.”