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Mangawhai ties for Citizens Awards



bev-682After an absence of five years the Kaipara Citizens Awards have been reinstated with five outstanding women from the Kaipara community being honoured at a function in Paparoa recently.

Presentations were made by mayor Greg Gent to Bev Ross, Valerie Mann, Lilian Radich, Colleen Preston and Stella Woolnough.

Valerie Mann has been a stalwart of Meals On Wheels in Dargaville for 40 years, was a founding member of the Dargaville Woman’s Club and Dargaville Country Woman’s Club and national president of Plunket.

Lilian Radich’s activities include being involved in setting up the Anzac Theatre, Wednesday crafts, providing transport for patients to and from hospital, and is a strong supporter of local netball.

Colleen Preston, a long-standing Ruawai resident, has worked for over 20 years at Matakohe’s Kauri Museum, is active in the local Presbyterian church and helped the fundraising drive a for a new car for the local Ruawai Plunket nurse.

The remaining two recipients have special ties to Mangawhai.

For over 35 years Stella Woolnough has assisted in the running of a number of Kaipara and Mangawhai community groups and continues to do so. Some of those clubs include the Kaipara Hunt Club, Mangawhai Library, domain committee, and Rally of New Zealand.

Stella Woolnough arrived in Mangawhai in 1981 taking up 80 acres on the Mangawhai-Kaiwaka road, built a lot of her own two-storey home herself, while also working as a primary school teacher. Always active, she joined the tennis club committee in 1981 and still plays, became a volunteer at the Village Library from its inception and has assisted in spectator safety when the National Car Rally was held throughout the area.

A keen horsewoman, Stella has had a long involvement with the Kaipara Hunt Club, is very much involved in the local pony club as well as timing and writing for judges at major showjumping fixtures. Though well into her 80s, Stella still enjoys the odd beach ride and has no plans to slow down anytime soon.

Bev Ross, possibly as she is herself a descendant of four pioneering families, is seen as one of Mangawhai’s foremost pasiionate historians having reasearched, studied and contributed to much of Mangawhai’s history over the past 40 years.

Her first book, They Dared The Impossible is a tribute to a group who took on the powers of nature and bureaucratic red tape to once more make Mangawhai Harbour environmentally

healthy and usable. This was followed by Ripples From The River which chronicles early activity and European settlement from the 1840s onward through several generations.

Bev is currently part of a local history group writing a series of booklets relating to the 58th Regiment who comprised the first settlers in the area. A number of Bev’s findings have been woven throughout the history of Mangawhai which can be seen at leisure and in more detail in a tour of the Mangawhai Museum.

All recipients were presented with a bouquet of flowers and a Maori greenstone memento, a hei matau in the shape of a stylised fish hook representing strength, good luck and safe travel.

HONOURED: Pictured from left, Kaipara mayor Greg Gent with Citizens Awards recipients Bev Ross, Valerie Mann, Lilian Radich, Colleen Preston and Stella Woolnough.

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