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Nigel’s senior of the year

Age Concern Wairarapa’s 2018 Senior Person of the Year, Masterton’s Nigel Boniface. PHOTO/STEVE RENDLE

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Masterton’s Nigel Boniface’s first official business as Senior of the Year is to repay his friends who “set him up”.

Boniface was awarded the title on Tuesday at Age Concern Wairarapa’s annual awards — something which surprised him after listening to all the other great nominations.

The awards held at the Carterton Courthouse acknowledged the community contributions of over 65s across the region.

“About a month ago, I got a letter saying I was a finalist and I thought ‘it’s a bit of a worry’,” Boniface said, laughing.

“I don’t like a high profile.”

So much so that Boniface attended the awards by himself and hadn’t yet told his friends and family of his win.

“I guess they’ll find out [Wednesday] in the Times-Age,” he said.

Although his new title made him feel old, the 69-year-old was “pretty humbled” by the acknowledgement.

“I think it’s a bit of a set-up by my friends – I didn’t expect to win.”

Joan Davis was named first runner-up for her assistance to residents of rest homes, her ongoing support to the families of the Armed Forces, fundraising for various organisations, and support to stroke survivors, including the lengthy care for her own husband during his illness.

Second runner-up was awarded to this year’s Charles Rooking Carter award-winner Helen Dew for her advocacy and long-standing contribution to the Carterton community.

She was also acknowledged for her contribution towards local governance procedures and the unconditional donation of her time and services to others.

But it was Boniface’s long-term involvement in restoration and monitoring programmes for native bird life and assisting predator trapping in the Tararua Range that won the judges’ favour.

He was also recognised for his involvement in the Holdsworth Restoration Trust, his participation in Wairarapa Search and Rescue, and his ongoing commitment to Wairarapa organisations.

Presenting the award was Carterton Mayor John Booth who Boniface said he had been friends with for “30 odd years”.

“We used to do the odd glide together.

“I was flying gliders and he was flying fixed wing planes – it was just a hobby.”

The other named finalists were Robert and Sue Brader, Ray Stewart, Maureen and Eric McEwen, Jan and Don Farr, Karen Chalmers and Coral Aitchison.

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