Fowler’s ded­i­ca­tion leads to Queen’s Ser­vice Medal

Matamata Chronicle - - What’s On - CLAIRE FITZJAMES

A Queen’s Ser­vice Medal was the last thing Gary Fowler ex­pected when he was in­formed of his achieve­ment in April.

The for­mer Mata­mata man, and now Pauanui res­i­dent, was recog­nised for his ser­vices to the com­mu­nity and agri­cul­ture in the Queen’s Birth­day Honours.

Many will as­so­ci­ate Fowler with his an­nual fundrais­ing con­certs he held in his back­yard that at­tracted more than 1500 peo­ple and raised over $150,000 for lo­cal emer­gency ser­vices in­clud­ing West­pac Res­cue He­li­copter, Coast­guard, St John Ambulance and the Pauanui Vol­un­teer Fire Brigade.

His am­bi­tious vi­sion has also seen the con­struc­tion of the 25km cy­cle and walk­way that will con­nect Pauanui and Tairua.

So far 4.2km of the trail has been suc­cess­fully com­pleted com­pris­ing 80 me­tres of board­walk, seven bridges, 15 do­nated named seats, na­tive tree plant­ing, in­sti­ga­tion of a pest erad­i­ca­tion/preda­tor con­trol pro­gramme and in­stal­la­tion of a user count­ing de­vice.

When he was told of his award, he said it was in recog­ni­tion of what the vol­un­teers have done to­gether.

‘‘I’m just the poor bugger who has got the recog­ni­tion for it.

‘‘You can’t get through all by your­self. It’s the peo­ple around you,’’ he said.

Be­fore his ded­i­ca­tion to im­prov­ing lo­cal fa­cil­i­ties for the Pauanui com­mu­nity, Fowler con­trib­uted to a range of agri­cul­tural or­gan­i­sa­tions while farm­ing in Mata­mata.

He was a dis­putes con­cil­ia­tor for Fed­er­ated Farm­ers from 1984 to 2000 and an ad­vi­sor to the New Zealand Dairy Board on re­search pri­or­i­ties.

Fowler was a mem­ber of the Re­gional An­i­mal Health Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee from 1989 to 1994 and has been in­volved in deer farm­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions since 1988. Over the years, Fowler said he had many favourite mem­o­ries, in­clud­ing help­ing de­velop the Ti­rau Golf course when he lived in Mata­mata.

He added that see­ing the en­joy­ment on peo­ple’s faces at his con­certs would al­ways stick with him, enough to con­sider hold­ing another con­cert.

‘‘I think we might have a one-off. I’ve been wa­ver­ing on the fact one day we will have the fi­nal con­cert. Once we com­plete the trail, we will have a con­cert to cel­e­brate,’’ he said.

Gary Fowler and his wife Anne are ensconced in the Pauanui com­mu­nity.

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