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Civic awards recognise lifetime of giving by volunteers

Press Release – Whangarei District Council

Five volunteers who have given to the community in a broad spectrum of areas over their lifetimes will be recognised by the District of Whangarei by Mayor Sheryl Mai, councillors and guests at a Civic Honours ceremony in the Council Chambers, Forum …Media Release

EMBARGOED until 5am Wednesday 20 August 2014

Civic awards recognise lifetime of giving by volunteers

Five volunteers who have given to the community in a broad spectrum of areas over their lifetimes will be recognised by the District of Whangarei by Mayor Sheryl Mai, councillors and guests at a Civic Honours ceremony in the Council Chambers, Forum North, tomorrow night.

This year’s recipients are (in alphabetical order by surname):

Helen McGregor
John Morison McGregor
Trevor Lloyd McKenzie
Delecia Stewart (Maxi) Thompson
Paratene Te Manu (Sonny) Wellington

Chairman of the Civic Honours Selection Committee Councillor Crichton Christie said it was a privilege to honour the five, selected from 16 nominations this year.

“My committee read every nomination carefully – and some of them were extensive. We debated them at length and finally came up with the top five, four of whom I had the pleasure of visiting to inform them of their Award.

“Between them, John, Helen, Sonny, Trevor and Maxi have given nearly 240 years of voluntary service to the Whangarei community, through over 80 local organisations and activities.

“Each of them have had families and jobs, and yet they have also found the time and energy to contribute voluntarily to the wellbeing of the people of our District.”

Councillor Christie said the United Nations broadly defines volunteering as ‘contributions that individuals make as non-profit, non-wage, and non-career action for the well-being of their neighbours, and society at large’
“When we look at the contributions made by the people we are honouring today, that definition seems understated. In fact, the role and value of volunteers is often underestimated. In our community, thousands of people work quietly behind the scenes, seldom receiving the recognition they deserve.

“Without these people our society would fall to its knees. They are our backbone, and the firm foundation that supports the work of every charity and community group,” Councillor Christie said.
“In Whangarei, as with everywhere else, volunteers are creating positive change in our community on many fronts including education, health care, safety, sports and recreation, heritage and arts, environmental protection and advocacy, search and rescue and volunteer fire fighting.

“Within its mandate, Council works in partnership with these volunteers and community groups to provide a range of core services to the community. We feel we need to support them where we can, because we couldn’t achieve all that is achieved without them.

So, on behalf of the community, I thank every volunteer working for the betterment of Whangarei. In particular, I thank the 16 nominees for this year’s Civic Honours Awards for their enormous contribution, and especially the five outstanding citizens to whom we are presenting Awards tonight.

“I would also like to thank the people who nominated them, sometimes going to enormous lengths to provide my committee with the details we needed.

“And, last but by no means least, I wish to thank the people who supported you at home and enabled you get out into the community to do what you have done.

“Rose Wellington, Helen and John McGregor, and the late Lois McKenzie and Ian Thompson also deserve our gratitude and praise.

“I’m sure each of our recipients would acknowledge that, in part, their Award is also for their families and loved ones.

Civic Honours Citation – Helen McGregor

It is with great pleasure that Whangarei District Council awards a Civic Honour to Helen McGregor in recognition of her considerable contribution to the Tikipunga and Whangarei communities.

Helen and husband John have lived in Whangarei for most of their 53 years of marriage, with the exception of four years spent in Western Samoa. They are parents of three adult children, grandparents to three, and great grandparents to one.

Despite being busy with her family and working life once the children had started school, Helen still found time to support her community through voluntary work that exemplifies the spirit of her Christian faith.

Helen’s community service began as a Sunday School teacher 50 years ago. She was the first president of the Tikipunga Plunket committee from 1965 to 1970, and was a member of the Tikipunga Kindergarten Mothers’ Support committee between 1967 and 1971.

Helen’s service to the young of Whangarei continued as a Tikipunga High School PTA member between 1980 and 82. For over 30 years she has been involved with the Tikipunga Girls’ Brigade, holding many positions in that Company and in the Northland Area. She is well regarded for her organisational abilities, enthusiasm, willingness to travel regularly to other brigades to share her knowledge, and for helping the girls to develop their academic, spiritual, social and physical skill bases. She has received official recognition of her service and became a Girls’ Brigade life member in 2013.

For more than 20 years Helen has donated her time to help care for the disabled and elderly at the Tikipunga Forget-Me-Not Adult Day Centre. She has become a firm favourite with both clients and staff for whom she also bakes four dozen muffins a fortnight, never missing a delivery.

In 2000 Helen joined the Whangarei Branch of the National Council of Women as a Girls’ Brigade representative. Since 2005 she has held the role of the group’s Treasurer and conscientiously provides financial reports for meetings. She also assists with and organises catering for events and functions, and makes a valued contribution to the organisation’s culture through her collaborative approach and strong social conscience.

If there is a family in need, Helen is there with a meal, baking or transportation, generally through her church pastoral care roles at Trinity Church. She is also an elder of the Church, has taught Bible in Schools for 30 years, and served as a hospital chaplain for five years.

With John she has helped support a young family with a father in the Ngawha Correctional Facility. She has been part of the Summer Safe programme, and has been a valuable support to John in his pastoral work and numerous volunteer roles.

Unsurprisingly, in 2013 Helen became a finalist in the ‘Northlander of the Year Award’, and received a ‘Local Hero Award’.

She is a shining example of good citizenship and contribution.
Civic Honours Citation – John Morison McGregor
It is with great pleasure that Whangarei District Council awards a Civic Honour to John Morison McGregor, recognising his considerable contribution to the Tikipunga and wider Whangarei communities.

John started work as a New Zealand Post Office technician in 1955, and worked in Kaikohe until 1960 when he moved to Whangarei. He and wife Helen have lived in Whangarei for most of their 53 years of married life, with the exception of a five-year secondment to the Government of Western Samoa to install a telephone exchange.

Helen and John are the parents of three adult children, grandparents to three, and great grandparents to one. Despite being busy with his family and working life, John still found time to support his community through voluntary work that exemplifies the spirit of his Christian faith.

That service began with the Kaikohe Fire Brigade from 1955 to 1960, and the St John Ambulance and Whangarei Fire Brigade in which he served from the early ‘60s until 1985.

John has been in leadership and eldership roles in the Tikipunga Trinity Church since 1975, where he has assisted with working bees, fund raising, church maintenance and leading church services. He is an active member of the Whangarei Regional Ministers’ Association, a Northland Area chaplain for the Girls Brigade, a church property convenor for Churches Together in Northland, an advisor to the Whangarei Aglow Fellowship, and a leader of the Whangarei Healing Rooms ministry.

He served with the missionary group, Kiwi Link, helping repair and maintain orphanages in Zimbabwe between 2004 and 2010, and cheerfully helps any locals in need with such things as visits to hospitals and the elderly, lawn mowing, maintenance tasks, taking rubbish to the tip and providing transport. He has also supported a young family with a father in the Ngawha Correctional Facility, transporting them to the prison on visiting days.

Johns is chairman of the Tiki Pride Community Group and has supervised carpark security at the Whangarei Falls since 2011 as part of the Summer Safe programme. In both these roles his pride in and concern for the welfare of his people and their visitors is evident.

In all this work John has been supported by wife Helen, who he in turn supports in her church pastoral care and many voluntary roles. Together they have set a commendable example of good citizenship and contribution.

John Morison McGregor has for over 55 years conscientiously and selflessly devoted himself to caring for and enhancing the lives of the people of Northland, Whangarei and Tikipunga.

He has been, and remains, a great asset to our community.

Civic Honours Citation – Trevor Lloyd McKenzie

It is with great pleasure that Whangarei District Council awards a Civic Honour to Trevor McKenzie in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the welfare of the people of Waipu and Whangarei.

Trevor was born to a well-known Waipu family that can trace its ancestry back to Duncan McKenzie, part owner of the schooner Gazelle, that brought the first settlers to Waipu from Nova Scotia in 1853. He was educated at North River School in Waipu and married Lois Barrott in 1948.

Trevor and Lois purchased a dairy farm on Mountfield Rd – part of the McKenzie Brothers’ farms – where they produced five children. Lois helped work the farm, enabling Trevor to become involved in community activities, an interest that would grow to encompass many facets of Waipu and Whangarei life over the next seven decades.

In 1939 Trevor became a member of the Caledonian Society, of which he was Chief for four years. He served as the Waipu delegate on the Whangarei sub-province of Federated Farmers and as an Honorary Ranger for the Lands and Survey Department.

In 1954 Trevor was at the first meeting to discuss the need for a Waipu fire brigade. He was instrumental in forming that brigade, has taken many roles within the brigade since, and has attended every call out possible.

Trevor was the Waipu representative on the Whangarei County Council from 1956 to 1977, also serving a term as Deputy Chairman. He has been a member and Chairman of the Whangarei County Judicial Committee, Whangarei County Pest Destruction Board, the Whangarei City Council’s Waipu and combined Waipu and Ruakaka Fire Brigade Committees, the Waipu Centennial Domain Board and the Waipu Cove Domain Board.

A Justice of the Peace, Trevor served as President of the Whangarei and County J.P. Association and as the Vice President of the Northland J.P. Association. He was a foundation member of the Whangarei County Civil Defence Committee and Sector Warden of J-Sector (Waipu).

He has also been President of the Marsden Combined St John Ambulance, a member of the One Tree Point Domain Board, a member and Vice President of the Waipu A & P Association, and a foundation member of the Waipu and Ruakaka Parish Residents and Ratepayers Associations.

Sports have been a great love of Trevor’s life, with involvement in their management at a local level. He was a member and President of the Waipu Rugby Club, held various positions on the Waipu Referees Association as well as being a well regarded referee, was a member of the Rugby Referees Grading Panel and also made contributions to Waipu athletics, golf and bowling committees.

From 1954 to 1977, Trevor was in charge of a rainfall reporting station for the New Zealand Meteorological Service, recording weather and rainfall at 9.00am every morning and sending information off at the end of the month.

In 1977 he took on Coast Watch duties for New Zealand Customs, watching the goings-on at sea in the Bream Bay area from Uretiti Campground and reporting suspicious activity when it occurred.

These services and all others he has performed over the years, make Trevor a much loved and valued member of the Waipu and Whangarei communities. Credit must also be given to his wife, Lois, who supported him until her recent death, and who helped to make of him an outstanding example of good citizenship in the true spirit of volunteering.

Civic Honours Citation – Delecia Stewart (Maxi) Thompson

It is with great pleasure that Whangarei District Council awards a Civic Honour to Delecia Stewart (Maxi) Thompson in recognition of her considerable contribution to the Pataua, Whangarei and Northland communities.

Born in Scotland, Maxi’s family emigrated to Northern Rhodesia in the 1950s, where she was educated and met her husband, Ian. Their three children were born in Rhodesia, before they moved to South Africa and then Whangarei. In 1980 they settled in Pataua, and Maxi immediately became involved in her new community.

She became a member of the Pataua Area Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association where she has helped to initiate and bring to completion many local improvements over the years. Maxi helped run the Friday night youth group at the Pataua Education Trust Hall for many years, and during winters helped organize the social club, where locals took turns hosting fun nights aimed at further strengthening community ties.

She was secretary of the Pataua Outdoor Education Trust for six years, took part in working bees and helped fund-raise for the kitchen block. At the same time she helped co-ordinate weekend craft markets at the Trust hall, which brought both social and economic benefits to the area.

From early on, Maxi was a member of the Pataua Ladies Morning Tea Group, from which ‘Bridging the Gap’ was born, an independent magazine distributed free to households in the Pataua area. Maxi still edits the magazine 22 years on, and has been a driving force in its growth to a 40-page quarterly with a circulation of 280.

Her way with words and love for Pataua also helped inspire the book, Pataua Recollections, a millennium project comprising a collation of stories of Pataua’s history. Compiling and editing the book was a huge job for Maxi, but it was a big success and is still in print today, with profits going to the Pataua Outdoor Education Trust.

Maxi and Ian planted olive trees around their property as shelter, which led to their becoming involved in Northland’s fledgling olive industry. Both were members of the foundation committee of Olivetti, the body established in 1993 to assist olive growers. Today Maxi is the sole life member of Olivetti, through which she continues to provide expertise and support to those new to the industry. She also imported an olive press from Italy, which has been well utilised by growers throughout Northland, who often arrive unannounced with fruit to press.

This in turn led to active participation in, and ardent advocacy for the Whangarei Artisan’s Fair. Maxi engaged in every initiative possible to help put Northland on the tourist map, including the Northland Food and Wine Trail and the ‘Discover Whangarei Heads’ group.

Other community groups benefitting from Maxi’s support include Whangarei Stamp Collectors, the International Red Cross, North Haven Hospice and the Pataua Fishing Club, for which she volunteers at fundraising events and donates cases of oil. She also frequently assists and offers transport to friends and people in need in her community.

Maxi Thompson is a shining example of all that the Civic Honours Awards represent.

Civic Honours Citation – Paratene Te Manu (Sonny) Wellington

Whangarei District Council takes great pleasure in awarding a Civic Honour to Paratene Te Manu (Sonny) Wellington to acknowledge his long-standing contribution to the Ngunguru and Tutukaka communities.

Born and raised in Tutukaka, Sonny is a descendant of the famous Maori leader, Paratene Te Manu. After leaving school he worked in the Whangarei District for some years before leaving Whangarei to work at Kinleith for 15 years. On his return, Sonny became closely involved with his community and is now a Kaumatua respected by Maori and Pakeha, alike, for his remarkable ability to bridge the cultural divide.

Sonny’s reach into his community is broad, touching many generations, interest groups and walks of life. He works tirelessly for the good of the community, enriching it with his knowledge of Maori traditions and history.

Since the inception of the Ngunguru Marae, Sonny has led in the areas of governance and operations, and is highly respected for his whakapapa and personal mana. He embodies the principles of kotahitanga, encouraging Maori and non-Maori, young and old, to use the marae for community endeavours.

He has made a significant contribution to the Ngunguru Sports and Recreation Society, representing the Maori viewpoint and providing an invaluable link between different sectors of the community. As Kaumatua for the Tutukaka Coast Lions Club he willingly conducts funerals and weddings and assists in any other way he is asked.

The members of the Tutukaka Coast Ratepayers and Residents Association speak highly of Sonny’s contribution as a Kaumatua, a calm and wise guardian of the environment and local history. He attends every community event possible, takes an active role in the ANZAC Dawn Parade, and has participated in projects related to the War Memorial and Sports Complex.

A past pupil of Ngunguru School, Sonny continues to support the school community in both a celebratory and advisory role. As the school’s Kaumatua he presides over the induction and welcoming of students and their families, regularly opens and blesses significant school projects, and enthrals students with tales of the school’s history and the fabric on which it is built.

Sonny has been a longstanding and valued member of the Ngunguru Hall Committee, assisting in all areas of administration and contributing in any way he can to care for the building and its grounds. He acts as a conduit between local community groups and Iwi, liaising easily between diverse groups and individuals.

He has served as a chaplain for the Whangarei / Tutukaka St John’s Ambulance, and as Kaumatua for the Community Church, Coastguard Tutukaka, the Ngatiwai Trust Board, the local fire brigade, and for Dive! Tutukaka at the sinking of the Navy ship, the Waikato.

Sonny contributes to the Ngunguru Sandspit Protection Society on an ‘as required’ basis, and co-ordinates the Kia ora Ngatiwai line dancing group with his wife, Rose.

There are few in Ngunguru and Tutukaka who haven’t somehow benefitted from Sonny’s good will, hard work, wisdom and spiritual contribution. He is universally described as a man of humility, integrity, commitment and community spirit.

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