Martinborough’s Maree Roy received the Community Service Award for an individual. PHOTOS/PETE MONK

Wherever help is needed, you’ll find Maree

Hayley Gastmeier

Changing the world for the better begins in your own backyard.

That’s how Maree Roy, from South Wairarapa, approaches life.

“I learned from my mum and dad from a young age that it’s vitally important to make the world a better place. So, you start with your immediate environment.”

The long-time Martinborough resident, who will soon be waving the town goodbye, was recognised for her community spirit at the South Wairarapa District Council 2019 Civic Awards.

The awards, held last week in Martinborough, recognise individuals, groups and organisations that contribute significantly to the well-being of the community.

Maree, considered the local expert on cats, took home the Community Service Award for an individual.

She was nominated for the award by David Kershaw.

In his nomination form he said Maree had been an active supporter of Martinborough for the 45 years she had lived there.

“She is not a glory seeker at all and prefers just to do things in the background that need to be done or help where help is needed.”

David said Maree was probably responsible for collecting “a ton or two of litter” on her daily dog walks, contributing to Martinborough’s tidy appearance.

Maree has been a teacher at a playcentre and of the piano, as well as having taught chemistry, science and maths at Kuranui College.

She was a councillor on the Martinborough Town Board in the late 1980s before the amalgamation into South Wairarapa District Council.

She is on the Martinborough Community Board and is a past-president of the Martinborough branch of Red Cross, for which she still co-ordinates the meals on wheels service for Martinborough residents.

David said Maree was “very approachable” and her “friendly manner” meant she was often called upon to help in the community.

“Most recently there was a shortage of cooks in the Wharekaka Rest Home kitchen and staff asked if she could help out for a few weeks – she just stepped up and did it.”

Maree is moving to Dunedin soon, and David said her “skill and support will be seriously missed”.

Board chairwoman Lisa Cornelissen agrees.

“Maree is just one of those people who quietly gets on and helps wherever she can, with no expectation or need for thanks or reward.

“She is friendly and approachable and her contribution to the fabric of Martinborough has been immense.”

Maree said she moved to Martinborough in the 1970s, after the death of her husband, and raised her daughter Melyssa there.

“This meant getting involved with playcentre, school and pony club.”

She also got involved in local politics, advocated for gender equality, and promoted an environmentally-friendly way of life.

“I have tried to initiate changes in my own space and exert an influence for good through the organisations I’ve been involved with.

“Now my main projects are fighting climate change, eliminating rubbish, and making people aware of the global problems we are facing,” Maree said.

Also awarded Community Service Awards were the Greytown Menz Shed and Featherston’s Own Charitable Trust.

The Waiohine Action Group took away the overall Supreme Award for the South Wairarapa citizens of the year, as well as the Environment Award.

The group worked hard to come up with a Waiohine River flood management plan that saved Carterton and Greytown ratepayers millions of dollars when compared with an initial proposal by Greater Wellington Regional Council.

The Arts and Culture Award went to the Featherston Camp Sculpture Trust.

The Arts and Culture Award went to the Featherston Camp Sculpture Trust, which is responsible for the $600,000 Paul Dibble sculpture, known as the Featherston Stand – He Tino Mamoa.

The public artwork was installed on Fitzherbert St last year and commemorates the Featherston Military Training Camp, where over 60,000 soldiers trained during World War I.

The Featherston Amateur Wrestling Club took away the Sports Award. And the Young Achiever Award went to Alexander J [AJ] Southey.

“AJ is an extraordinary young man going places,” Greytown Community Board chairwoman Leigh Hay said.

“He was our youth representative on the Greytown Community Board for two years where he not only made contributions on youth initiatives but also on wider community issues.”

South Wairarapa’s 2019 Civic Award nominees

Community Service Award:

Featherston Lioness Club

Featherston’s Own Charitable Trust

Dr Michael Berry

Garrick Emms

Kelly Sargent

Diana Donald

Ajay and Jen Bhati

Featherston Community Centre

Greytown Menz Shed

David Hayden

Shane Atkinson

Raihania Reuben Tipoki

Maree Roy

Faith Wrigley

Services to the Environment Award:

Waiohine Action Group

Saci Reilly-Jasper

Uffe Benzon

Sports Award:

Jackson Sargent

Featherston Amateur Wrestling Club

Gliding Wairarapa

Arts and Culture Award:

Lincoln Gould

Karen and Gary Shaw

Marguerite Tait-Jamieson

Featherston Camp Sculpture Trust

Martine Bijker

Alexander (AJ) Southey

Young Achiever Award:

Alexander (AJ) Southey