‘‘Queen’’ dishes out honours
Kaitaia good sorts have been honoured by the Queen - but not the Queen of England.
Founder of #ILoveKaitaia - a social media campaign to promote positive messages in the town Naomi Austen-Reid was keen to keep the momentum going.
At Christmas time, she and a group of helpers decorated the main street with tinsel, for Valentines Day, pink hearts lined the street and for St Patrick’s Day, Austen-Reid dressed up as a leprechaun and placed pots of [chocolate] gold in the township.
Ahead of the Queen’s Birthday Weekend, she called for nominations for people that deserved to be recognised for their work and service in the Far North. Around 300 nominations rolled in, making it a tough decision.
‘‘It was overwhelming to read all of the testimonials. It tugged at your heartstrings,’’ Austen-Reid says. ‘‘I knew all along that there are amazing people in the community, but this really cemented in my mind that I come from a great community.’’
Nominations filtered into five categories; sport, culture, youth, education and community. Austen-Reid dressed up as a queen and surprised each recipient with a certificate, heart medal, flowers and sponsored vouchers.
For her contribution to the community, Lois Strong was nominated for her voluntary work making hospice nurse lunches, kapa haka outfits for Paparore School, and baking for fundraising events.
Strong also visits those who are at their last stages of life and records their life stories which she compiles for a special keepsake book for the family.
Sandra and Chris Henare were recognised for culture for their services to the community in kapa haka. They began teaching kapa haka at Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Te Rangi Aniwaniwa and went on to share their knowledge with many schools in the region before starting Muriwhenua Kapa haka in 2009.
Gloria Harrison was honoured for more than 25 years service to netball, as a player, coach, umpire and administrator.
Ashley Waitai-Dye was recognised for her work with youth, including as a youth coach for Youth Service Kaitaia, coordinator of the RAID Movement Muriwhenua. Paparore School principal John Windleborn, was nominated for his services to education.
Barking, wagging tails, and excited dogs created an interesting sight at Memorial Park in Kaikohe at a special dog event. Local dogs were microchipped for free, with some also eligible for free desexing. Pictured is Girl, a bull mastiff cross, at the nga kuri auau o Kaikohe day. The initiative was hosted by the Far North District Council - 95 dogs turned up, with 85 microchipped on the day. A total of 80 dogs were signed up for desexing. See more pictures on P7.
Naomi and Sandra.