Ish­mael awarded for be­ing a tidy Kiwi

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - ELESHA ED­MONDS

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.’’

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