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Outstanding volunteers receive Porirua Civic Awards

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The dedication of our city's volunteers has been recognised at Porirua's 2021 Civic Awards.

Mayor Anita Baker presented the awards to 12 hard-working recipients at a special ceremony on Monday, 21 June, at Pātaka.

The awards honoured the outstanding contribution of this year's recipients across a range of voluntary community service areas including the environment, children and young people, social services, cultural activities, recreation, older adults, education and arts.

The 2021 Civic Award recipients are:

Ngatupuna Joseph Cuthers goes out of his way to support young golfers, personally fundraising in his own time so emerging players have uniforms and equipment. He also runs clinics at Whitby Collegiate and coaches the senior men’s side, many of whom he coached as juniors.

Nicole Barlow has been recognised for her work with not-for-profit organisation Bellyful, delivering meals for families in need of support. About 130 meals are cooked and distributed each month. Nicole’s nominators said she worked tirelessly to ensure Bellyful runs smoothly.

Farzana Nazreen Nisha began volunteering for the English Language programme through Partners Porirua in 2018, tutoring new Kiwis from refugee backgrounds. While employed into this role now, Farzana continues to offer her own time running events, translating and relieving for other classes - her work assists about 300 new Kiwis each year.

Shona Bowman has been recognised for her work with Trust Porirua City Brass Band and helping St Andrew’s Church and Rangikura School. She also clears rubbish from the streets, making an important difference to her environment, recently offloading 27kg of aluminium cans to the local recycling centre.

Marie Wright has volunteered for many years at organisations in Titahi Bay, including the Horticulture Society, Surf Life Saving Club, the suburb’s residents association and community group, and for her Presbyterian Church. She planted and nurtured gardens around Titahi Bay and helped with Anzac Day - she gets on with her mahi, not expecting anything back.

Allan Dodson has given more than a decade’s service to Plimmerton Residents Association, and Porirua and Titahi Bay RSAs. He project-managed the Plimmerton Railway Station refurbishment, was a driving force behind the Karehana Park upgrade, and his meticulous research into the city’s war veterans for Porirua War Stories has won him many plaudits.

Tracey Dyer volunteers for WELLfed, which teaches basic cooking skills, that includes planning and budgeting, through free classes. It has seen more than 3400 meals made, rescuing 13,000kg of food. Tracey is a support person at Holy Family School and is active in Plimmerton Tennis Club’s junior programme.

Reverend Casey Lee and Reverend Carmen Yeoh have been recognised for their support for their community through their church, maintenance of the Titahi Bay Community Garden, and the suburb’s fruit and vege co-op. Casey and Carmen ensure orders are out on time and this was especially important when Covid-19 took hold.

Abhishek Sharma oversees the distribution of free food and helps connect the city’s Indian community, aiding in their settlement to NZ life. He also gives his time for other food distribution services like the Salvation Army and recently played a part in bringing Diwali to Porirua.

Mama Vaine Ngaro has dedicated more than 50 years to volunteering. Just some of her work sharing her knowledge, generosity and time include with Creekfest, Porirua Strong Pacific Families, the Cook Island Association, Cook Island Mamas and other Pacific groups in Porirua. Her weaving and tivaevae is regularly celebrated.

Phil Skipworth (this award was given posthumously) had a wonderful and lasting impact on and in Porirua. He pioneered the establishment of restorative justice hui for young people and made a difference through his work at Porirua College, lowering expulsion rates and making students have a greater sense of community and pride. Phil is missed every day, say his nominators.

"Porirua has so many people of talent, heart and commitment, coming from all walks of life but with a passion for making our city a fantastic place to live," Mayor Baker said.

A pin, engraved badge and framed certificate were given to the recipients and in Skipworth’s case, to his family.

"They are a small token of the gratitude for what you have done, and continue to do, for Porirua," Mayor Baker said.

"You do mostly unheralded work in all parts of our communities - without your tireless efforts and initiative, and others, the city would be much the poorer.

"Thank you for everything you do."

The awards, running annually since 1993, were cancelled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

21 Jun 2021