Compassion for her community
A Matamata woman, well known for giving to her community has been awarded a Queen’s Service Medal.
Sandra Hunter, originally from Scotland, has been volunteering since she arrived in New Zealand with her husband Brian and three boys Richard, Stephen and Ross in 1972.
While the Queen’s Service Medal is a lovely way of being recognised for services to her community, for Hunter, volunteering is not a job, but just being who she is.
‘‘I grew up with a mum and grandmother who were very much into justice, equality and helping people wherever you got the opportunity.
‘‘I had been brought up with a servant heart.
‘‘It’s just satisfaction in feeling like I am doing what I should be doing.’’
Hunter, a former editor of the Matamata Chronicle, has been sitting on the news of her medal since April.
She says the letter confirming the accolade was totally unexpected and left her speechless.
‘‘I instantly felt like a fraud because Matamata’s built on a history of volunteers and service.
‘‘You just pick up and carry on.’’
Hunter’s introduction to volunteering in New Zealand came a year after arriving in the country.
She and Brian had settled in the North Shore.
Their twin boys were enrolled at kindy for six weeks before school started.
She was required to stay with them at each session.
By the end of the six weeks, a teacher, who was also a Guide Leader had drafted her into the organisation.
‘‘I had three boys, and had nothing to do with Guides whatsoever, and suddenly I am a Guide leader in Torbay,’’ she laughed.
‘‘I learned from that - wow, everyone volunteers here.’’
When they made the move to Matamata in 1976, Hunter found the familiarity in a small community that she had felt as a young child in Scotland.
‘‘I had never felt such a well defined sense of community as when I was a little girl growing up in a small village in Ayrshire, Scotland.
‘‘Everybody rolls their sleeves up and pitches in. It was incidental learning.’’
It was while studying social sciences through Massey University, that she became interested in people and their dynamics.