Civic Honor Awards recognize tireless community volunteers
A special event was held last night to recognize 20 people who have generously given back to the community by helping to improve and enrich the lives of others.
The annual Hastings District Council Civic Honors Awards were held at Functions on Hastings in Toitoi – Hawke’s Bay Arts and Events Centre, where recipients were joined by friends, family and supporters for the presentation .
Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said the awards were one of the biggest and most anticipated civic events on the council’s calendar.
“For over 30 years, we have recognized and celebrated people who voluntarily help others, bring people together and give back to the community in so many ways.
“A civic honor from Hastings District Council is the highest honor our community can bestow on a person. And I am truly proud and grateful to have the opportunity to recognize and celebrate with this year’s deserving recipients.
“These awards shine a light on our civic leaders who, through their personal leadership, sacrifice and dedication, inspire us all; they make a significant and immensely positive difference to the well-being of our beautiful district of Hastings and, most importantly, our people.
This year’s winners were:
Mohinder Singh Nagra – Heavily involved in the Sikh community and the Hastings Temple, Mohinder plays an important role in community sporting and cultural events and makes himself available at all times as a justice of the peace to assist people with work visas and documentation .
Marion and Mike Shakespeare – Longtime Nourished for Nil volunteers Mike and Marion have both worked tirelessly for the food rescue organization since its inception in 2017.
Lea Baterbonia – The Filipino community of Hawke’s Bay has been well served by Leah for over 10 years, including serving as a mentor, justice of the peace, founder and permanent member of the Asian in the Bay Awards organizing committee, and volunteer ambassador for the Philippine Embassy.
Sayed Ahmed – A founding member of the Bangladesh Association of New Zealand in 1991, Sayeed became the leading advocate for Bangladeshis in Hawke’s Bay and was instrumental in raising funds for the construction of a local mosque.
Kane Koko – A champion of the Pakipaki community, Kane dedicates his life to representing it through roles at Taraia Marae, Houngarea Marae, Pakipaki Hapū Trust and Whenuakura Urupā among many others.
Owen “Jerry” Hapuku
– Jerry has spent 45 years in volunteer roles in the districts of Kahungunu, Hawke’s Bay and Heretaunga, generously sharing his knowledge of Maori kaupapa with schools, local government, marae, hapū and in the fields of justice and of health.
Vivien (Viv) Brown – Involved with Hastings Lions for many years, Vic was also instrumental in creating and continues to organize the annual Young Achievers event which recognizes Hastings Year 13 students who have achieved academic, athletic, artistic achievement and community. She also supports the Re-Source charity in Hastings.
Traci Tuimaseve – Traci is a highly respected member of the Flaxmere community who volunteers on boards, committees, groups and goes above and beyond wherever he can support the wellbeing of the community and the whānau.
Ruiha Tiakina Erueti Woodward (Nanny Nana) – Ruiha is a long-time advocate of the kōhanga reo movement and has devoted much of his life to the revitalization of te reo Māori since the establishment of Te Kōhanga Reo o Poukawa ki Kahurānaki in 1983.
Christina McBeth – One of the co-founders of the Nourished for Nil food rescue project, Christina has dedicated countless hours since its launch in 2017, keeping a huge amount of food waste from going to landfill and filling many bellies at the same time.
Lara Ventura – Dynamic President of the Filipino Community of Hawke’s Bay, Lara has tirelessly supported Filipinos in activities ranging from sports competitions to women’s development, health forums and networking with other organizations in Hawke’s Bay.
Ross Webb – The sport of rowing, both local and national, has benefited immensely from the countless volunteer hours Ross has devoted to coaching and supporting young and adult rowers, men and women.
Julie Hart – Julie has volunteered both locally and nationally for Women’s Refuge since she started with Hastings Women’s Refuge in 1994, devoting time, commitment and leadership to help support and empower women and children who have been affected by domestic violence.
Edward ‘Joe’ Simmons
– Joe has dedicated more than 50 years to the Maraekākaho Volunteer Fire Brigade and was a rural controller in charge of leading the brigade for several years. His leadership has meant that the brigade has been sustained and improved over the years.
Barbara Walker – Senior Chaplain at Hawke’s Bay Hospital from 2009-2021, Barbara has also given a lot on a voluntary basis, such as advocating for staff and patients 24/7, initiating and organizing ANZAC Day services at the hospital, raising funds and running the Memorial Garden.
Ave Faka’osi – After spending years volunteering to help learner drivers in Pasifika obtain their licenses, Ave has now shaped and delivers a focused driver’s license initiative for people in Pasifika, in addition to many other volunteer activities in the community.
Ron Wilkins – The contributions Ron has made to his community are many and varied through his long service with the Gray Power organization supporting and advocating for the elderly.
Tofilau Talaleli Taufale – Tofilau has provided passionate leadership and worked tirelessly for the Pasifika community for many years, including but not limited to serving as a Trustee of the HB Youth Futures Trust and as a USO Officer Hawke’s Bay.
Kevin Hodges – For 23 years, Kevin has contributed to the community by battling rural fires, raising record sums for cancer support through the Firefighter Sky Tower Challenge, and conducting search and rescue operations.
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