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The Far North District Council citizens' awards recipients 2009. At the back from the left - Bill Keir, George Goodhew, Shaun Reilly, Mayor Wayne Brown, Ross Beddows and Jon Field. In front - Claire Parsons, Lorraine Goulton, Meg Brown and Yvonne Adams. Photo: FNDC.
Nine outstanding citizens were formally recognised for the contributions they have made to their communities when the Far North District Council's 2009 Citizens' Awards were presented in Kaikohe on Friday.
The awards were instituted eight years ago to publicly acknowledge those who, over long periods, have selflessly worked to better the communities in which they live and work, Mayor Wayne Brown saying this year's recipients represented a real cross-section of the depth of hidden talent and community spirit which existed in the Far North.
"These people represent the true spirit of the district, and are role models for what can be achieved when we put time and effort into helping those less fortunate in our communities. People like this make the Far North a great place in which to live and work," he said.
"It's great to think there are people like this prepared to take on the tough jobs and help others, without complaint and without financial reward."
Those who received awards were:
Yvonne Adams, described by her nominator as the epitome of a selfless person, has given more than 40 years' service to the Kaikohe community in a variety of fields.
She has served on community organisations including WDFF, Women's Institute, Rural Women NZ, the local gardening club, senior citizens' club and the senior citizens' hall committee, and has given unstintingly of her time and substance to both individuals and organisations.
Ross Beddows, the Kaitaia Volunteer Fire Brigade's senior station and training officer, has close to 20 years' service to his credit, and continues to add to his more than 2,000 musters. He is currently documenting the history of the brigade in preparation for its 75th jubilee in 2013. He has also given freely of his time and enthusiasm to the Far North Regional Museum and the Kaitaia Genealogy Society.
Margaret (Meg) Brown (Cooper's Beach, formerly Waipapakauri) has spent many years encouraging young people in her specialist fields of ballroom dancing, in which she is a professional instructor, and swimming. She led the Women's Institute Glee Club for 27 years, is still involved with the Tune Twisters, the St Andrew's Church Choir and Christmas pageant choirs at Mangonui and Kaeo.
She is a member and past president of Doubtless Bay Retire and Live, chairperson of Doubtless Bay St John and a former committee member of the Doubtless Bay Citizens' and Ratepayers' Association. She supports daffodil and poppy days, and for several years has been involved in the remedial reading programme at Taipa Area School.
John Field has had more than 40 years' involvement with St John, and has also been actively involved for many years with Jaycee, Rotary and Lions clubs, Kaikohe Cubs and Scouts, Kaikohe junior soccer, and as treasurer and lay preacher with the Catholic Church.
He joined Rotary in 1973 and was president of the local club in 1980, when the town was fundraising for extensions to the library, Rotary making a major contribution to that effort. But it is for his commitment to St John that he is best known, the Order rewarding his commitment by presenting him with one of its highest awards, the St John Order of Merit.
John was a Kaikohe Borough councillor and an inaugural member of the Kaikohe Community Board.
Harold (George) Goodhew, a retired farmer, businessman, auctioneer, agricultural contractor, AI technician and one of Northland's sports icons, has been engaged in voluntary work serving in the Far North for most of his adult life.
Born at Rawene, educated at Taheke and Northland College, he farmed at Punaketere-Taheke and Ruatangata, was involved in the retail industry at Taheke and in real estate in Kaikohe. He had a distinguished rugby career, was a Hokianga sub-union delegate to the former North Auckland Rugby Union and was elected Northland president in 1995-96.
Still actively involved in administration, he is the union's longest-serving delegate. George was instrumental in forming the Northland Rugby Referees' Executive, was the executive's first chairman and is currently serving a two-year term as president.
In 1995 he was recognised as Administrator of the Year at the inaugural Far North Sports Awards. He has also served on school committees and organisations including the Taheke Community Group, the Opononi Fishing Carnival committee and the local Lions Club.
Lorraine Goulton is a stalwart of the Kaeo community with an impressive list of engagements extending back many years, including president and committee member of Kaeo Playcentre, the Kaeo School PTA and Whangaroa Community Swimming Pool committee, a trustee on the Whangaroa College board, treasurer of the Kaeo Christmas Festival committee and committee member for the Kaeoannes (previously Kiwaniannes) and Whangaroa "Whispers" (local community newspaper) committee.
Lorraine also helps out behind the scenes, where it be washing dishes at functions, assisting neighbours and friends or volunteering as home help for those in need.
William (Bill) Keir, Wekaweka Rural Fire Party CFO, was described as the epitome of the rural volunteer who works quietly behind the scenes and never seeks public recognition or reward. He was a foundation trustee for the Wekaweka Valley Community Trust, which has operated for 18 years fostering employment and education in the South Hokianga and providing resources to encourage community well-being.
Bill has put in countless hours over many years recording aspects of the history of the Hokianga, both photographically and in writing, played a significant role in the preparation of the Waimamaku centennial booklet, and has for many years helped to maintain the Waoku Track, recording both its history and its ecology. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Wekaweka Rural Fire Party and has contributed strongly to the Civil Defence network in the valley.
Claire Parsons is a champion of the Okaihau community. Secretary of the local community association, she is considered an unsung hero for her tenacity in pursuing issues of community interest and concern with local government and government agencies.
Claire has given unreservedly of her time and her own resources over the last decade to keep the community informed and to make sure the interests of Okaihau and its people are appropriately served.
Shaun Reilly is a fearless battler for community causes. The former professional photographer is widely known for his campaigns to improve the lot of the residents of Kaikohe and surrounding areas. He has become an unofficial conscience of the community, bringing to attention a variety of local government initiatives which he believes are not in the best interests of the community in which he lives.
Shaun has voluntarily served on a wide variety of local organisations including Kaikohe East School, Federated Farmers, the Kaikohe Senior Citizens' Hall Committee and secretary to the TOPIS organic association.
He has been involved with the Kaikohe Business Association, Kaikohe Community Patrol, Senior Citizens' Club, Kaikohe Pioneer Village, Northland College PTA, the local Christmas parade and A&P association.
He is a life member of the NZ Ploughing Association.