2022 Ruapehu Citizen of the Year Award
Gary Jacobs of Taumarunui and David Wiari of Raetihi are Ruapehu’s 2022 Citizen of the Year Award recipients.
The Citizen of the Year Award comprises the Northern Ruapehu Citizen Award which is presented to a resident of the National Park, Taumarunui and Ohura Ward area while the Waimarino-Waiouru Award covers the southern half of the district.
Mr Jacobs was awarded the Northern Ruapehu Citizen Award for his many years of service to the Taumarunui community being described as an "unsung hero" in his nomination.
He is currently the Deputy Chief of the Taumarunui Fire Brigade where he has served for over 30 years and is much respected for his commitment to his crew and their welfare.
In addition to his volunteer Fire Brigade work he regularly donates his time and skills to helping out with a wide range of other community projects.
This has included multiple projects for local schools, helping beautify Manson Garden, Night Owl patrols keeping the community safe and sponsorship of the High School football team.
In accepting his award, he said that "anything I do for my community is a pleasure" noting that most of what he does is as part of a team. "I am just a cog in a big wheel," he said.
Mr Wiari was awarded the Waimarino-Waiouru Citizen Award for his social and spiritual leadership within his community and for his marae, hapu and iwi.
For over 35 years he has been dedicated to the kaupapa of Iwi Mau-rakau in support of his community.
This has included being on-call to respond to issues and delivery of the Man Up programme helping men overcome dysfunction in their lives and putting them on a path to becoming positive role models in their own right.
He said that he was very humbled by the Award adding that he didn't expect any recognition like this for what he does. "I do it because of my love of the people," he said.
Mayor Weston Kirton said that Gary and David are both very worthy recipients of their respective Citizen of the Year Awards.
“Both of them very much deserve being recognised for the huge efforts they have put into their local communities and by extension the Ruapehu district as a whole” he said.
They are great examples of the type of people who work for many years doing the important mahi that underpins the fabric of our communities.
The Ruapehu Citizen Awards are an opportunity to give people like Gary and David the recognition and thanks that they deserve,” he said.