Young people are Poppy’s passion
‘‘I love Cannons Creek. I wasn’t born here, but it’s in my heart, it’s my home.’’
Kathy Daymond – known to all as Poppy – has received a Porirua Civic Award for her work with young people and her community.
Receiving the accolade at Pataka was ‘‘thrilling’’, she said, and she admitted having tears in her eyes – though a smaller gesture would have been just as rewarding.
‘‘All I expect from people is to hear ‘thank you’ now and then. That speaks more than awards and 1000 other words.’’
Poppy has been a fixture at the Cannons Creek Opportunity Centre for more than 14 years.
Daymond ’ Kathy hold her back.
Originally from the Chatham Islands, Poppy raised 35 foster children with her partner in the 36 years they lived in Paraparaumu.
She opened the first kohanga reo in Kapiti, and was a probation officer and a Porirua Healthlinks Board trustee.
Poppy has lived in Cannons Creek for 20 years, and is the Puare Trust chairperson and a Fanau Centre Trust Board member, but can be found most days at the Opportunity Centre, where she volunteers.
She is the chairperson of the organisation’s board, but when Kapi-Mana News visited last week, she was mopping floors.
The crutches she uses, having been stricken with polio as a baby, clearly don’t The young people of the Creek are her focus. ‘‘To me it’s a real passion, working with youth, not something you can switch on and off. You see things and hear things – there’s a lot more pressure on young people today, so I just listen and try to help.
‘‘Kids are a treasure, and you only get them for a short time, so we have to make a difference in their lives.
‘‘I especially love the riff-raff. I know where they’re coming from.’’
Poppy is proud that she can walk from her home to the Opportunity Centre in the dead of night and not be accosted – more often than not, she will be escorted.
‘‘There’s no such thing as a ‘ bad’ area, as people call the Creek. It’s what you make of it, and my heart belongs here, in this community.’’
Mother figure: Kathy ‘Poppy’ Daymond began the first graffiti arts class in Porirua some years ago, and is happy to see the classes expanded and involving mentors like artist Michel Tuffrey.