Kaipara District Council honours citizens with awards

The Kaipara District Citizens Awards were held on August 16 at the Lighthouse Function Centre in Dargaville. Left to right, Kaipara mayor Jason Smith, Albert Paton, Sally Parkinson, Richard Drake, Gordon Finlayson, John Phillis and Council chief executive Louise Miller.

Five residents received Kaipara District Citizens awards from Kaipara Mayor Jason Smith for their outstanding services to the district and its people last month.

The awards programme was reinstated this year after a hiatus. It was formerly held annually between 2001 and 2012.

Maungaturoto’s Albie Paton received his award for his role in several projects, including Maungaturoto’s 150th centennial celebrations, planting of the ‘old dump’ on Bickerstaffe Road, and St John’s Trash & Treasure event.

He also started a woodwork group at the old scout den, which provided training to school children while fundraising for dementia.

Mangawhai Heads’ award recipient Gordon Finlayson has been a member of Volunteer Surf Lifesaving for over 50 years and is currently the Chairman of the Mangawhai Heads club.

He facilitates a service that provided a junior surf programme for 150 children last year, along with a surrogate coastguard rescue service, in addition to after-hours emergency surf lifesaving.

Over the last 20 years, another Mangawhai recipient, John Phillis, has picked up responsibilities wherever he has seen a need, including as a marriage celebrant, quizmaster at the Tavern, MAZ volunteer, Harbour Restoration Society member and president of the Mangawhai Tennis Club.

John also initiated and organised Mangawhai’s first ever Santa Parade in 2018.

Other award recipients from Northern Wairoa included Sally Parkison, who has been an operational volunteer of St John for 20 years, and Richard Drake for his governance roles in various organisations, including Federated Farmers, Northpower, and the Meat and Wool Producers Board.

Richard was nominated by the Mayor, who has the power to bestow an honorary citizens award to a person who has contributed to the reputation of the district.