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Local builder receives rare recognition from peers

Local builder Paul Southey has been presented with a prestigious life membership of the Registered Master Builders Association [RMBA] in recognition of his work in the community.

Southey said that receiving the award late last month was unexpected.

“I went to the event thinking it was a celebration for me heading to Australia,” he said.

“It was a complete surprise and very humbling.

“It’s an appreciation of the work everyone is doing in the community.”

The life membership was presented by local Master Builders branch president Kieran Gleeson and RMBA chair Nigel Smith, who flew up from Ashburton for the event.

“Becoming a life member at Master Builders is based on recognition for volunteer work,” the organisation’s regional manager Karen Maddocks said, “and going above and beyond and contributing to the wider community.

“Most people are a lot older when they get the award, but Paul has just done so much for the community.”

According to Maddocks, Southey is the first person in Wairarapa to ever receive an RMBA life membership.

Southey is involved with a plethora of local groups and businesses, in addition to his ‘day job’ running the Wairarapa branch of A1 Homes.

“I do a lot with the business community, and I do a lot of mentoring and coaching of Māori business, not only in construction but in other areas,” he said.

Southey also works with groups to encourage wāhine Māori and young people to enter the building industry.

“I speak at schools and help with anything to get youth into the industry,” he said.

Southey is also on three national construction industry panels that provide guidance on what educational requirements are necessary for entering the sector.

“It’s just been an honour to do what we do in Wairarapa,” he said.

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