No spare mo­ment for John and Ngawai


It doesn’t take much to mo­ti­vate Jon Ear­ley and Ngawai Richard­son.

Whether teach­ing English to refugees or to be­ing a can­cer sur­vivor and liv­ing life to the fullest, the Whitby pair are com­mit­ted to ev­ery­thing they do.

‘‘For us it’s about giv­ing some­thing back to the com­mu­nity we live in. It’s just nice to see Porirua grow and know you have helped,’’ Ear­ley said.

Richard­son is a breast can­cer sur­vivor from Porirua, and for 25 years has been a mem­ber of the Zonta Club of Mana.

She was di­ag­nosed with can­cer 12 years ago, but has been go­ing strong since.

She is a real es­tate agent at Tommy’s Real Es­tate in Mana and also pad­dles for the Cansur­vive dragon boat­ing team, which is made up of breast can­cer sur­vivors.

Be­fore Ear­ley re­tired about 19 years ago, he worked in sales and mar­ket­ing, but more re­cently he has been help­ing teach English to refugees.

Ear­ley vol­un­teers for the New Zealand Po­lice, and for his lo­cal neigh­bour­hood sup­port group, and is a driver for can­cer pa­tients.

Ear­ley and Richard­son spend count­less long nights vol­un­teer­ing on their lo­cal neigh­bour­hood watch.

‘‘You never do it for the re­ward. You do it be­cause you en­joy help­ing peo­ple. It re­vi­talises me,’’ Ear­ley said.

The pair were pre­sented with a Porirua 50th medal in hon­our of the city’s mile­stone birth­day last year. They were ac­knowl­edged for their com­mit­ment to en­hanc­ing the lives of Porirua peo­ple through vol­un­teer work.

Though Ear­ley is orig­i­nally from Dunedin and Richard­son from the Hutt Val­ley, both soon fell in love with Porirua. They have lived here for more than 30 years.

‘‘There’s a sense of com­mu­nity pride and en­joy­ment of help­ing. It gives you some­thing to do,’’ Ear­ley said.

When asked what the recog­ni­tion meant to them, both said it was un­be­liev­able and out of the blue.

‘‘It’s nice to be proud of where you are from,’’ Richard­son said.

‘‘We just wanted to do stuff for the com­mu­nity. We wanted to be in­volved.’’


Jon Ear­ley and Ngawai Richard­son were ac­knowl­edged for their com­mit­ment to vol­un­teer­ing around Porirua.

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