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2021 Civic Honours Awards And Youth Excellence Scholarships Presented

Outstanding voluntary community service saw three people recognised with Civic Honours and two with Certificates of Recognition at the 2021 Civic Honours Ceremony on Thursday 2 December. Mayor Bernie Wanden presented the awards with support from Mayoress Sharon Wanden.

In addition, Council's 2021 Youth Excellence Scholarships were presented to 12 outstanding young people who have excelled in the areas of academia, arts and culture, community service, and sport.

Mayor Bernie said, "These awards are one of the highlights of the year for Council, where we acknowledge the meritorious commitment, and hard work, and for some, long voluntary service to our community."

"Our Youth Excellence Scholarship program is an initiative that commenced 17 years ago, with more than 200 young people acknowledged with a scholarship which assisted with a multitude of costs such as tertiary study, sporting equipment and travel," said Mayor Bernie.

Cr Tukapua, Chair of the Community Funding and Recognition Committee, added, "The Committee was heartened with the high calibre of nominations. Almost 40 nominations were received for rangatahi aged between 12 to 24 from across the district. As a Council, we are immensely proud of our young people thriving despite the many challenges of 2020 and 2021."

Civic Honours awards were presented to:

John Hewitson – Community Affairs. John serves his community quietly, with dedication, goodwill and without hesitation. He cares deeply about the community and the people within it.

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John came to Waikawa Beach in about 1999 and was soon elected as chair of the Waikawa Beach Ratepayers Association, a role he has served in ever since. As chair, he has run the regular committee meetings and AGMs. John attends various meetings relevant to the community, such as the Manakau District Community Association AGMs, Waka Kotahi Ō2NL expressway meetings. He also represents the interests of Waikawa Beach residents at Horowhenua District Council consultations.

John readily responds to community members who approach him and spends time and effort to ensure that the appropriate people or organisations address these concerns or issues. He always lends a hand where there's a need.

Beyond the Waikawa Beach community, John has helped out extensively at the Levin Uniting Church, sorting out their electrical problems and serving free Sunday night dinners. He is always serving the community.

Barrie Buck – Community Affairs & Religious Affairs. Not only is Barrie a successful local businessman, leading a team of qualified electricians and apprentices, he has also recently retired after fourteen years as a Judicial Justice of the Peace (JP) for Levin. JPs provide an essential voluntary service in relieving the load on District Court Judges. Barrie was also the chair of Horowhenua JPs and is still a committee member. He will continue his role as an administrative JP as he has done for the past four years.

Barrie has been the property manager for St Mary's Anglican Parish, Levin, with three churches, halls and offices to maintain and supply. This position has been particularly challenging due to stricter earthquake regulations leading to St Mary's Church's forced demolition.

Barrie's long list of service to the community includes 30 years' service to the Levin Brass Band, where he is a past president and life member. Barrie coached secondary school hockey for many years, volunteered as an umpire and is a past chair of the Hockey Association. Barrie was a member of Levin's Promotional Council and a Rotarian. Of note is Barrie's staggering 55 years of service to the Masons Lodge, where voluntary work and service to the community is well known across the district.

David Roache – Community Affairs, Cultural Affairs, Education Services, Social Affairs/Services, Recreation and Sport, Religious Affairs. A stalwart across the wider Foxton Community, David has contributed personally or professionally over many years.

David has served an impressive 37 years in local government, commencing in 1985, serving five years with the Foxton Borough Council until amalgamation in 1989; a further 32 years on the Foxton Community Board, with three terms as the Kere Kere Ward representative. This has included two terms as chair of the Foxton Community Board.

David has been involved with community projects, including the seawall at Foxton Beach, Donnelly Skate Park, the new grandstand at Easton Park, lighting the water tower, and pushing for the development of the pump track at Foxton Beach. Initiating the Christmas tree installation in Foxton's Main Street, which began in 1975, firstly with the Foxton Lions Club, then the Foxton Tourist & Development Association, then with the Roache family continuing the tradition until 2018.

David was a trustee of the Foxton Flax Stripper museum, MAVtech and Manawatū College and served as the Bishop's Representative for Saint Mary's board of trustees. He served on the Foxton RSA as a committee member, vice president, and the last three years as president. David is the managing director of Roaches Concrete Products since 1979, employing many local people.

Certificates of Recognition were awarded to:

Liam McLeavey – Community Affairs. Liam has dedicated his entire young adult life to unleashing the potential and improving outcomes for others, particularly young people. He has supported businesses to grow, and strives to make Horowhenua a better place.

Liam has the unique ability to see possibilities and vision for a brighter future for Horowhenua. He takes promising ideas and delivers them into meaningful actions. Liam has generated an impact for the district and has led at a local, regional and national level.

He contributed to many forums, such as the Horowhenua Youth Council, the National Youth Advisory Group within the Ministry of Social Development. Liam contributed to the Provincial Growth Fund bid for $50,000 of funding from government to commission a feasibility study on the Horowhenua labour market. This led to government investment of $800,000 for Get-Go, the largest labour market development programme ever seen in the Horowhenua.

Liam was a delegate for the New Zealand government for the Social Enterprise World Forum in Edinburgh. Between 2019 and 2021, he served as a member of the Social Enterprise Sector Working Group, part of the Social Enterprise Development Programme within the Department of Internal Affairs, which delivered its report to the government mid-year.

In 2018, Liam became a board member of the Youth One Stop Shop, passionate about youth health. This primary health organisation delivers health and social services to 10,000 young people in Horowhenua and Palmerston North. He was promoted to the role of chair of the organisation in 2021.

In late 2019, Liam was announced as a 2020 Global Teen Leader alongside a select group of 32 young leaders from 18 different countries. With such an impressive array of skills and achievements, we look forward to seeing what the future will bring for this enterprising and energetic young man.

David Brewerton – Education Services. David is acknowledged for establishing and maintaining the Queer Straight Alliance at Horowhenua College.

David established the alliance in 2019 to provide social support and education for rainbow students and their friends, as rainbow students tend to face higher levels of bullying and exclusion from school than other students. Research has shown that if rainbow students feel supported and included at school, they will succeed academically. Since establishing the alliance, teachers have noted that students involved are more engaged in their learning than during their earlier years at the college.

The group meets weekly, with David maintaining this through two COVID-19 lockdowns using Zoom and social media. The lunch-hour gatherings consist of eating lunch together, engaging in games and general discussion, camaraderie and encouragement to be resilient, to face challenges and most importantly, to be themselves.

Setting up the group has shown that colleges and staff are often wary of allowing or advertising such groups because of the perceived risk of possible community pushback. David has navigated these tensions exceptionally well. He is a technology teacher at Horowhenua College and leads other social enterprises, such as the Refresh Trust – a recycling and employment charitable venture. David cares for these vulnerable young people. His efforts will assist in equipping the students as they complete their education and go out into the wider world.

Horowhenua Youth Excellence Scholarships were awarded to:

Callum Baines (Academia)

Nicole Burlace (Academia)

Elijah Bathan (Academia)

Kalanee Rauhihi-Wicks (Arts & Culture)

Elizebeth Logologo (Arts & Culture)

Keearndra Tohill (Arts & Culture)

Misipeka Ana (Community Service)

Sophia Kingi (Community Service)

Octavia King (Community Service)

Taylah Seng (Sport)

Courtney Fitzgibbon (Sport)

Hana Kerins (Sport)

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