Hastings District Council has held a special event to thank the many voluntary individuals and groups who have supported the local community over the past year.
Council says it was also a chance to recognise this year’s Hastings Heroes nominees who have gone above and beyond to assist others affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor, Sandra Hazlehurst said the community spirit in Hastings had never been more evident than over the past two years grappling with the challenges of the pandemic.
“From looking after each other through lockdowns, to supporting each other when isolating when sick with the virus, to managing events and work commitments through Covid restrictions, we have pulled together to support each other’s wellbeing.”
Council launched Hastings Heroes in 2020 to celebrate the people and groups who had gone the extra miles to help others.
“Given we are still dealing with the challenges of the pandemic, we have kept Hastings Heroes going so we can thank and acknowledge our humble heroes across all sectors and roles in our community,” Mayor Hazlehurst said.
In the words of their nominators, here are the 2022 Hastings Heroes:
Rizwaana Latiff – Riz is well known in the Hastings community and highly regarded for the assistance she provides others.
She is always helping people in the community – from cooking for events to providing food/grocery parcels to those in need.
Riz will answer a call for help at any hour of the day or night. You ask for help and she will be there, going out of her way to leave no stone unturned if called upon.
Monica Watson – For the past year or so, Monica has put her own health at risk to go door knocking in lower decile areas to educate, help and support the elderly and community members around all things Covid. She has talked to them about the vaccinations and possible side effects, and she has taken them to get tested and
This is only a small example of all that Monica does for her community – she is always the first person to volunteer her services whenever required. She is very committed to her whanau, hapu, iwi and her community.
Cushla McLaren – Outside of her busy family and business, Cushla dedicates many hours and much effort to supporting junior surf lifesaving in the district. As well as organising events, she is a surf lifeguard. This summer she was outstanding when helping a victim of a serious accident who had severe lacerations.
She also volunteers as Secretary of Trojans Swim Club, and this year created and planned a local Oceans 2022 event for junior surf athletes when the national event was cancelled due to Covid.
As Waimārama Juniors Surf lifesaving director Cushla helped keep junior surf active in at the same time as adhering to Covid safety protocols.
Kirsten Keene – As part of Heretaunga Seniors, Kirsten supported Grey Power members during and after the Covid lockdowns – delivering packages to letterboxes each week which included activity books, biscuits and personalised drawing.
She would regularly called people to check in on them and still does now every now and then to have a chat and check they are okay. This kind of caring at such a challenging time was admirable.
Ngā Marae o Heretaunga Kai Hāpai – This year Ngā Marae o Heretaunga Kai Hāpai (representing 14 marae) took up the call to assist with the Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga Welfare Hub. The awhi included packing and delivering kai and hygiene packs to whanau in Heretaunga isolating with COVID-19 – to date 3,200 deliveries have been made.
This helped whanau to isolate in their whare and stay safe with kai on their tables and the ability to keep their kāinga sanitised with hygiene packs during their isolation period.