Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 49, September 2005

Years of community effort were recognised in September 2004 as the Hauraki District Council handed out Civic Awards. Mayor Basil Morrison pointed out that the nominee's involvement in their communities spanned clubs, sports, service groups and fund raising projects. Recipients received medals and plaques.

Those who received Service to the Community Awards were Merrin Campbell, Bev Costello-Jones, Gwen Dunn, Jess Main, Hugh Fisher and Les McWatters.

Those who received Outstanding Service to the Community Awards, as reported in the Hauraki Herald of Friday 24 September 2004, were as follows:

Ron Laing, aged 90, of Waitakaruru. Mr Laing has been actively involved in his community for more than fifty years. He was a member of the Hauraki West Drainage Board for thirty years and he was a Councillor and Deputy Chairman of the Hauraki Plains County Council between 1966 and 1989. His special interest was his leadership of the Ngatea Light Boys, the children's division of the Boys Brigade. Mr Laing says that they tried to instil Christian values in the boys, at the same time giving them a good fun time.

Rowan Garrett, aged 68 of Kerepehi. Mr Garrett has been playing in the Kerepehi Brass Band since it started fifty-eight years ago and he has taught many people to play the bass and cornet, sometimes holding group classes. He also plays in brass bands across the Waikato and the Bay of Plenty, as well as in the Thames Salvation Army Church each Sunday.

John Cotter, aged 91 of Karangahake. Mr Cotter has served on school committees, including the Paeroa College Board of Governors, the Paeroa Cricket Association, the Mackaytown Pony Club, Karangahake Bowling Club and many more community groups. He was also a member of the Ohinemuri County Council and was involved in schoolboy rugby as a selector for Roller Mills teams. His first community involvement was as a teenager when he was secretary of the Manchester Unity Oddfellow Lodge. Mr Cotter has been a resident of Karangahake since 1923 and commented, "You've only got to put your hand up and you're in a job."

Les Cullerne, aged 73 of Paeroa. In 1961 Mr Cullerne was struck by Eddie Bancroft's appeal to Paeroa movie goers during an intermission to "come along and volunteer". He went to his first St. John training night and said he was "hooked". He has been Chairman of the Paeroa Area Committee since 1990 and has taught first aid to more than one thousand people over the years. In 1999 he was made a Commander of the Order of St. John, the equivalent of an MBE.