Our Own Local Heroes

At the Kiwibank Local Heroes Awards ceremony this month some Ōtaki residents had the spotlight shone on them for their good works.

This was part of the 2016 New Zealander of the Year Awards and the Kiwibank Local Heroes were presented with to of cially rec- ognise their achievements.

Councillor Sarah Free, was on hand to present the medals and congratulate the recipients on their awards. “These fine people embody the qualities that have long held our community together. Their charity, selflessness and generosity have touched upon the lives of so many and make our community a better place to live. That’s why we stand with them tonight and honour them as Wellington’s very own local heroes,” she said.

Mark and Jackie Kennedy

Mark & Jackie with their medals
Mark & Jackie with their medals

As owners of Ōtaki New World, Mark and Jackie have supported many organisations, groups, clubs and individuals in the greater Ōtaki area over the years.

They have been involved in fundraising efforts for organisations such as Surf Lifesaving, Rotary, Maori Women’s Welfare League, Red Cross Collection and the local food bank. They are always willing to help the community in whatever way they can.

They recently became involved in the Ōtaki College CACTUS (Combined Adolescent Challenge Training Unit Support) programme. The programme is based along military lines supporting youth to make positive changes in their lives. Mark and Jackie were more than willing to donate early-morning breakfasts, three times a week for eight weeks for the 24 students taking part in the programme.

Their contribution to the local community has not gone unnoticed and Mark and Jackie are regarded by many as true local heroes.

Napier and Lyn McFedries

Napier and Lyn McFedries
Napier and Lyn McFedries

Napier joined the Ōtaki Surf Lifesaving Club in 1963, and has been a swimming coach there ever since. As a founding member of the Ōtaki Amateur Swimming Club, he has served on its committee for 27 years.

Over the years he has held positions such as team manager for the Manawatu Swimming Centre Representatives team, national surf lifesaving competition official, member of the Ōtaki Pool Organising Committee and is a life member of several surf lifesaving and swimming clubs. On top of this he also organises and runs learn to swim classes.

He has received service awards from the Manawatu Swimming Centre and the New Zealand Swimming Association.

Alongside Napier, his wife Lyn joined the Ōtaki Surf Lifesaving Club in 1966 and has contributed to its success over the years. She held the position of secretary for 38 years, has been a club team manager, a competition official, a member of the fundraising committee and a chaperone for the Manawatu Swimming Centre Representative team for five years.

Like Napier, Lyn was a founding member of the Ōtaki Amateur Swimming Club and served on its committee for 26 years. Lyn is a life member of several surf lifesaving and swimming clubs, and has received service awards from Surf Lifesaving New Zealand and the Manawatu Swimming Centre.

Shelley Warwick

Shelley and her daughter Maggie
Shelley and her daughter Maggie

Shelley is an incredible member of the Ōtaki community and is always out and about organising fundraisers and doing everything in her power to make them successful.

Whether it is chairing meetings, chasing down items on to-do lists, negotiating with the Council or coaching a local sports team, Shelley is never short of energy.

Born and bred in Ōtaki and a trained nurse she is heavily involved in many aspects of community service.

Shelley was the driving force behind Ōtaki Kids Safe Crossing Group, which has provided the community with a safe option for crossing the increasingly busy SH1 highway.