Place to rest in Paeroa

Waihi Leader - - News -

More peo­ple can now sit and en­joy Paeroa thanks to sep­a­rate do­na­tions from Paeroa iden­tity Norm McMil­lan, and Paeroa Ro­tary.

Plaques recog­nis­ing both con­tri­bu­tions were un­veiled on two new down­town bench seats in the new Mackay Street de­vel­op­ment this month.

Paeroa Ward Chair Paul Mil­ner thanked both par­ties for their gen­eros­ity and said the seats would en­cour­age peo­ple to sit and stay a while and en­joy all the won­der­ful things Paeroa town­ship had to of­fer, for longer.

“I’ve tried both seats out and they have a won­der­ful view over the Paeroa Do­main. It’s the per­fect place to take a break from shop­ping, read a book out­side the li­brary, use the free WiFi, or take some time out to re­flect on the enor­mous con­tri­bu­tion peo­ple like Norm and Vera, and or­gan­i­sa­tions like Ro­tary, have made to this com­mu­nity.”

For­mer lo­cal ac­coun­tant Norm, and his late wife Vera, were al­ways first to roll up their sleeves when things needed do­ing around the town. Their daugh­ter Diane, who grew up in Paeroa, at­tended the plaque un­veil­ing.

“Mum and Dad did so much for the com­mu­nity, from Lions Club projects to coach­ing kids’ ten­nis and net­ball,” she said.

“Dad played a lot of rugby in Paeroa and then coached and man­aged the Thames Val­ley rugby team for many years — they even named the lo­cal rugby stand af­ter him. Mum also man­aged, ref­er­eed and coached net­ball. The list just goes on and on, so it’s re­ally nice for this to be recog­nised.”

The town has changed a lot since Diane was a stu­dent at Paeroa col­lege. Child­hood mem­o­ries in­clude evenings lis­ten­ing to her mum play the piano to en­ter­tain din­ner party guests, and af­ter­noons at lo­cal sports clubs. She says Norm, who served as a Paeroa Bor­ough Coun­cil­lor and Deputy Mayor, was known for his gen­eros­ity but also for be­ing shrewd with money.

“They used to say if you dropped a pa­per dol­lar note on the car­pet he’d hear it,” she laughs.

Al­though she’s moved away, Diane’s proud of her Paeroa roots and thinks the lo­cal com­mu­nity has done a won­der­ful job of get­ting them­selves on the map for all the right rea­sons.

“In big­ger places you don’t have the same sense of com­mu­nity as you do in places like Paeroa. I can re­ally see the value of liv­ing in a small town and will al­ways ap­pre­ci­ate that this is where I grew up.”

Long-time Ro­tar­ian Roy Ben­nett said the bench do­nated by Ro­tary is the lat­est in a se­ries of seats the club has in­stalled for shop­pers and trav­ellers around the town. Other Ro­tary-spon­sored spots in­clude down by the river and along­side the Hau­raki Rail Trail. Over the last 30 years the or­gan­i­sa­tion has given $273,000 to the Paeroa com­mu­nity, mostly for Col­lege and Pri­mary School projects. The or­gan­i­sa­tion has also as­sisted lo­cal stu­dents to overseas ex­changes or other chal­lenges on the high seas such as the Spirit of Ad­ven­ture.

PHOTO / SUP­PLIED.

From left: Norm McMil­lan, Paeroa Ward Chair Paul Mil­ner, Roy Ben­nett.

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