Recognising Rotorua's Local Heroes

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Recognising excellence is always important, none more so when considering service to a community. This week two Rotorua people were honoured at the Kiwibank Local Hero Awards in Tauranga.

The recipients, Ian McLean and the teachers of Westbrook Primary School who were represented by the school Principal Colin Watkins, were awarded with medals in recognition of their significant community achievements.

I was pleased to join our Mayor Steve Chadwick at the special awards ceremony and give thanks for the great work they have done in improving the lives of Rotorua people.

Now in its fifth year, the annual Kiwibank Local Hero awards are the ultimate recognition for good deeds in the community. Each year, people in the community can nominate anyone they think has made a powerful impact on the lives of others. 

Nominees may be involved in business, leadership, voluntary work, community and environmental groups, education, sporting clubs, working with the disadvantaged or have displayed courage in overcoming a personal adversity.

Both Ian and Westbrook School’s teachers have contributed greatly to Rotorua.

Ian is a highly inspiring member of our community. He has dedicated his life to the betterment of Rotorua and wider New Zealand. You may remember he was the MP for the former Tarawera Electorate for a number of years. Since retiring from politics has continued his extensive commitment to the community including being active on a variety of Community Boards and Trusts.

He has worked on a number of local projects which have benefited Rotorua, in particular helping to clean up Lake Rotorua. Congratulations on your award Ian – it is highly deserved!

A special congratulations to the teachers of Westbrook Primary School whose compassionate efforts saw a troubled pupil successfully diagnosed with autism. This student had previously been expelled from day care, and had another school give up on him. After an approach to Westbrook, the teachers have welcomed the pupil with open arms, and can be attributed to the child now attending school four days a week. A fantastic outcome!

These teachers were also of great assistance to their nominator who they helped through an extremely difficult period of sickness. They have gone above and beyond their duties and for that, they should be thanked.

It is always heart-warming to read of the generosity of our community and it is people like them who make Rotorua a great place to live. Once again, congratulations to Ian and the Westbrook teachers on their awards and thank you for your contribution.

- Published in the Rotorua Weekender on Friday 19th November, 2013