2020 Nominees for Community Volunteer of the Year
1. Jan Baker
Jan works tirelessly maintaining the Williams House Gardens, as well as the Village Green gardens and around the War Memorial Hall. Her latest projects have been repainting the William House fence along Williams Road, repainting the Williams House Garage doors, and repainting the frontage of the Paihia War Memorial Hall and railings. Constantly picking up rubbish and tidying things up, Jan has a real passion to help make Paihia shine!
2. Mark Johnson
Mark is one of the main people we can thank for maintaining the Opua/Paihia walking track. Spending hours clearing and enabling safe passage along this popular track.
Mark is a long time Opua local. As one person in the community mentioned, “He is amazing, and always has been. He and his wife worked tirelessly helping establish OPUA school for many many years. The field where the gym club is, Mark was the main driver/worker in creating that very valuable flat field for the school. A quiet, humble local man”.
3. Jennifer Pickering
Jennifer was nominated for the efforts she puts into the Paihia Football Club. She’s a busy mum of 3 (with one on the way), and also a HIPPY tutor, through Ngati Hine Health Trust, helping struggling mums to reconnect with their children, and socialize with others while their children play together and learn!
Jennifer was the major instigator of the first women’s team Paihia Football Club has ever had. She managed to find enough ladies to attend the games all season, she herself played in every single game and attended almost every training. She is also on the Paihia Football Club Committee, and is a coach for one of the junior teams along with being a manager/player for the senior women’s team.
4. Ann Truscott
Ann is involved in a number of community groups including the Paihia branch of the Red Cross for six years – helping with community projects, she has been the president of Age Concern for three years, Zonta Bay of Islands – raising funds to enable young women in the community achieve their goals YWCA Young Achievers scheme – a three year undertaking to help young woman in school to achieve their goals, Secretary for the National Council of Women, the President of the Kerikeri Garden Club for four years, and a weekly volunteer at Citizens Advice for the past twelve years.
5. Paulene Witcomb
Paulene (Polly) has been volunteering her time for the last 15 years to the Paihia music and dancing playgroups for preschoolers. Paihia Kids Music Club started after the closure of the Mainly Music group ran by the Baptist church about 7 years ago. Polly has been supporting the group since the Baptist Church days, preparing our coffees, organizing food, making sure all is tidy, clean and presentable for the mums, dads and kids attending. Her forever smiling, caring, and gentle manner has brought comfort to kids and parents alike. Anyone needing a quiet word, or just a warm cuppa could always count on her to be ready. She provides a calming and organized atmosphere in the chaotic life of kids playgroups. Her presence is incredibly valued and 15 years of making cuppas for tired but thankful mums and dads with a smile and caring vibes is no small feat.
6. Terry Halliday
Terry is one of those all round good guys that we’re lucky enough to have in our community. Like Mark, he spends many hours maintaining and clearing not only the Opua/Paihia walking track but also the Haruru Falls track and the footpath between Haruru Falls and Waitangi, as well as regularly picking up roadside rubbish between these two areas. Just the other day he collected 9 bags of rubbish along this stretch. Terry likes a good chat and enjoys meeting and sharing his local knowledge, history and fantastic stories of his 78 years here in the Bay of Islands, often touching the lives of people, including many tourists – he is a great ambassador for our town.
He was the Paihia School caretaker for many years, and even now goes back now and then to help out. We received this great story from an ex pupil… “Mr Halliday as I’ve always known him was the caretaker at Paihia Primary school and was a legend way back then. He doubled as a version of the school’s informal dentist, frowned upon in these modern times I’m sure, but as 5-10 years old we’d sit outside Room 3 at morning tea and Mr Halliday would pull our loose teeth out for us. Job done, no mucking around!