From supporters of arts and culture to a voluntary firefighter to a national advocate for young people and better access to cancer drugs, 10 individuals and groups were recognised at last night’s Hastings Civic Honours Awards.
This year’s recipients were:
Wiki Mulholland (posthumous) – Wiki was an advocate for young people throughout her life, and became known nationally for her passionate advocacy for better access to cancer drugs. She sadly passed away in November 2021 but her work to improve and extend the lives of people with cancer, along with her tireless efforts to help others in many other areas, was recognised with a posthumous Public Service Medal in July this year.
Linda Ward – For many years Linda has been an active member of the rural Waiwhare community – involved in Country Women’s Institute, Playcentre, the primary school, and other activities ranging from compiling a fundraising recipe book to writing a historical book about the school. She now uses these skills and her grasp of history to assist the Knowledge Bank.
Pamela Thomson – A member of Keirunga Artists for more than 20 years, Pam has worked in many capacities from board secretary to exhibition organiser and has worked to raise funds, as well as other activities to support the artists.
Keita Tuhi and John Matthews – Keita and John have generously shared their knowledge of the oral history of Kahungunu with many people over the past 40 years. They have also shared their expertise with raranga (flax weaving) and Keita is also recognised for passing on her expertise and knowledge of kapa haka.
Anthony Dench – For nearly 40 years Tony has worked as a volunteer fire brigade volunteer, most recently with the Havelock North branch. He has held senior positions within the Fire Association and also came up with a class foam firefighting device that is still used by brigades today.
Patricia Kerei – Patricia is a long-standing and valued member of Age Concern Flaxmere who as well as being office manager is a field worker who cooks and prepares meals for members. She also assists with transport to appointments and has organised mobility scooter workshops throughout the country.
Robert Smith – Robert Smith is a leading member of a local group fighting to eradicate the invasive weed species, Moth Plant. Robert has not only dedicated many years to removing this plant himself, he also educates others about the importance of getting rid of it.
NZ Sikh Society of Hastings – This organisation assists the community in many ways from providing free food parcels to homeless people and others in need every Sunday, to running language classes for those wanting to learn Punjabi helping them stay connected to their cultural roots. The group also brings the community together by organising sports and other events.
Hawke’s Bay Surf Lifesaving SAR Squad – This squad is on call 24/7 to assist with rescues. During Cyclone Gabrielle they were some of the first people out rescuing Esk and Pakowhai residents from their rooftops. It’s estimated they rescued more than 190 people, as well as many family pets in the first 48 hours of the emergency, and in ensuing days and weeks assisted other emergency services and local communities.
The annual awards took place at the Assembly Ballroom in the Toitoi Municipal Building on Wednesday night [August 30] – an opportunity to recognise community members who have gone out of their way to help and enrich the lives of others.
Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said the awards were one of the most important and anticipated civic events in the council calendar.
“For more than 30 years we have been acknowledging and celebrating the people that voluntarily help others, bring people together and give back to the community in so many ways.
“A Hastings District Council Civic Honour recognises the important contribution these individuals and groups have made in our community – for some over many years.
“One thing we have learnt from the COVID pandemic and through the response to and recovery from Cyclone Gabrielle is the importance of caring for each other.
“We are grateful to our recipients for their ongoing tireless service to help our people overcome challenges, care for our environment, and bring joy and happiness to uplift our community.”