Community battler’s spirit wins
A life of struggles has been left behind by Julie King who has stepped into a world of good after being recognised with a national community spirit award.
King, who was among 24 of the country’s finalists for the inaugural Pride of New Zealand Awards, was announced winner of the Community Spirit Award on Wednesday. ‘‘I kind of freaked out at first,’’ she said. The bubbly winner appears a happy person on the outside but King admits it was not always that way. ‘‘The me before would like to be alone.’’ Her personal battle started at the young age of 11 with her grandmother’s death.
The event caused her to ‘‘lose hope’’ and she spiralled into self-destruction.
‘‘I was just struggling with life, I was in and out of hospital,’’ she said.
‘‘I never believed in myself but I had my beautiful friends around.’’
Something changed in May last year when the mother of four decided to stand up against synthetic cannabis.
‘‘I thought enough was enough, even if I have to look silly and stand there by myself.
‘‘I was hearing how it was breaking up families and robbing people.’’
In one short year King managed to bring a community together to protest against and help ban the sale of legal highs.
And she also brought them into the kitchen with Tokoroa Love Soup.
Though she is originally from West Auckland she grew up visiting her aunty in Tokoroa.
And the sense of community grabbed her right from the start.
‘‘I’ve always been drawn to Tokoroa . . . it’ll always be where I belong.’’
Unbelievable: Julie King was surprised to receive the inaugural TSB community spirit award.