Eketāhuna’s council librarian for the past 13 years first moved to the area for adventure, and now she’s packed up her books and bags for the same reason.
Corinna Carew has not only been Eketāhuna librarian over this time; she has also qualified as a Justice of the Peace and become an ambulance officer.
If that wasn’t enough, she and her husband Terry Carew received the Alf Rowden Humanitarian Award in July last year for their contribution to the community.
Reflecting on when she and her family first moved to Eketāhuna 17 years ago, Carew said they were seeking adventure on the other side of the globe and arrived armed with the desire to jump straight into community initiatives.
“We knew coming here we needed to be part of the community, we couldn’t sit back and wait to be accepted,” Carew said.
“So that’s why we’re very proactive in joining groups and committees – we wanted to make sure we gave back as much the community gave to us.”
For the first few years after arriving, Carew and her husband ran a local bed and breakfast, and after that closed, she said she wound up as a librarian by accident.
“It’s really funny, actually – I went into the library to do some photocopying and the librarian at the time asked me, ‘Do you know anyone who wants a job in the library?’” Carew said.
“I immediately said, ‘Oh yes, me!’”
“I went in there for photocopying and found my dream job.”
Having read “voraciously” since she was young, Carew said the job kept her busy due to its role within the district council.
“It operates as a council office, so it’s kept me busy with that type of work too,” Carew said.
“When I first started, there was a money exchange as well. I think it was one of the only libraries at the time that did that because there was no money machine in Eketāhuna.”
Over her time working in the library, Carew said she witnessed firsthand what an important community asset the facility is.
“It’s a really safe space,” Carew said.
“You can come in and chill out, chat; it’s more than giving out books. It’s a space where people feel comfortable and connect with other people.”
Hitting the road shortly, Carew’s enviable upcoming trip involves travelling around England, Italy, the south of France, Spain, and Portugal in a campervan.
The past year has been a tough one due to personal circumstances, and Carew said it has inspired her and her family to seize the moment.
“You’ve got to do it,” Carew urged.
“It solidifies in your mind that you have to do these things, you can’t wait for the right time for it to happen.”