Guardian­ship re­ward­ing

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

For­mer Tairangi School prin­ci­pal Terry Ryan thought he would have a peace­ful re­tire­ment, but soon found him­self in an­other key com­mu­nity role as head of the Porirua Com­mu­nity Guardians.

Mr Ryan took over as man­ager of the Guardians at the end of last year, af­ter a friend con­vinced him to ap­ply for the role.

‘‘I wasn’t look­ing for a job. I was hap­pily re­tired do­ing wood­work and vis­it­ing my grand­chil­dren,’’ he says.

How­ever, the 66- year- old from Pare­mata has a strong sense of com­mu­nity ser­vice, so made the call to don the green hi-vis vest.

‘‘I’ve al­ways had the be­lief that if you take some­thing from the com­mu­nity, you should give some­thing back,’’ he says. ‘‘It’s just like teach­ing in many re­spects, it’s in­ter­act­ing with the com­mu­nity, try­ing to help peo­ple out,’’ Mr Ryan says.

The Guardians’ role is to make Porirua a friend­lier and safer place, keep­ing an eye out for trou­ble and of­fer­ing as­sis­tance where they can.

‘‘The Guardians’ role is to be the eyes and ears,’’ Mr Ryan says.

‘‘Young peo­ple know we’re a non­threat­en­ing group, they can ap­proach Guardians know­ing they’ll be lis­tened to and have their ques­tions an­swered, even about il­le­gal stuff.’’

On a typ­i­cal day the Guardians might wit­ness a car prang in Cob­ham Court, step­ping in if tem­pers get heated or pass­ing num­ber­plate de­tails on to po­lice.

Af­ter school gets out the Guardians watch out for skate­board­ers un­der the canopies, and they reg­u­larly check cars are locked and don’t have valu­ables on dis­play.

The group’s role ex­tends be­yond the city cen­tre too. They pa­trol east­ern Porirua streets day and night, and con­trol traf­fic at com­mu­nity events such as Creek­fest and the Fes­ti­val of the El­e­ments.

‘‘We don’t get many phone calls to say thanks very much, we just hope peo­ple ap­pre­ci­ate what we do,’’ Mr Ryan says.

One of Mr Ryan’s goals is to in­crease vol­un­teer num­bers; only 20 peo­ple are cur­rently on board.

All ages are wel­come to vol­un­teer, and Mr Ryan is keen to get rep­re­sen­ta­tion from all over the city.

‘‘I’m a lit­tle bit be­mused that we don’t have many from out­side the Porirua East com­mu­nity as vol­un­teers,’’ he says.

Be­ing a Guardian gives peo­ple a good buzz, Mr Ryan says.

‘‘It’s not a case of wan­der­ing around in green and get­ting sore feet, you can get a lot of pos­i­tive re­ac­tion.’’

To vol­un­teer for the Guardians call Terry Ryan on 238 2510

Giv­ing back: For­mer Tairangi School prin­ci­pal Terry Ryan de­cided to serve the com­mu­nity in his re­tire­ment, tak­ing over as head of the Porirua Com­mu­nity Guardians last De­cem­ber.

In his el­e­ment: Plim­mer­ton Kinder­garten kid and part-time lob­ster Tom Hen­der­son, 3, is rar­ing to par­tic­i­pate in this year’s mid-win­ter dip fundraiser.

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