Ishmael awarded for being a tidy Kiwi
Ishmael Musa has spent years keeping his neighbourhood spick and span.
Rain or shine, Musa walks through the Auckland suburb of Mt Albert every day picking up rubbish and keeping an eye out for anything out of the ordinary.
It’s a role he has voluntarily committed to for the past 12 years.
Mostly without recognition - until now.
Musa received a parliamentary award for his work in the community at Mt Albert Labour MP David Shearer’s office on Monday.
It’s the first time in his role as MP that Shearer has handed out an award of that kind.
Musa shyly accepted the honour but stressed to the small crowd that it was ‘‘wasted’’.
‘‘I tell them all the time, I don’t need anything.’’
His mother also attended the ceremony and thanked Shearer for the award.
Shearer says he noticed Ishmael picking up rubbish around the suburb seven years ago when he arrived in Mt Albert.
‘‘There have been a lot of people watching him for the last few years,’’ he says.
‘‘We should have done this a long time ago.’’
Musa moved to New Zealand from Kuwait with his parents and one of his five brothers 12 years ago.
He lived in Mangere before resettling into a flat in Mt Albert.
Short stints working at a coffee shop, hotel and a nearby church didn’t pan out for him.
When his father died last year, Musa opted to look after his mother while continuing his daily task of picking up rubbish.
‘‘I feel we need the country to look nice and clean,’’ he says.
‘‘I am happy to do something from my heart because we don’t want to have a messy country.’’
Musa’s actions have created positive waves in the community.
Calab Vincent-Goncalves, from Vinny’s Barbershop, presented a gift to Musa on behalf of the other business owners in the area to say thank you for his work.
Musa’s love for his new neighbourhood is also evident in his concern for safety in the area.
He says a new liquor store close to his home is bringing too many problems into the area and he’s also concerned there aren’t enough police.
‘‘Mt Albert is not safe…I see in my own eyes people smashing the shops at night.
‘‘We maybe need a police station or something around here to make this area nice and clean and safe.’’