Civic Honours Awards

The annual Civic Honours Awards are in recognition of voluntary service, honouring those who give up their time for community groups, clubs and organisations.

These awards are designed to recognise individuals and volunteer groups, and celebrate their valuable contribution which makes our district a better place.

2023 Award Recipients

2023 Civic Honours Awards Recipients

Civic Honours awards were presented to:

Sharon Freebairn

Sharon is an active contributor to Waitārere Beach and its residents. She has stamped her mark on several community organisations and is a valued member of the community.

Sharon was a member of the Waitārere Beach Progressive Association for eight years and from the onset became actively involved with many community events. She held the roles of Secretary and Chairperson and is described as engaging and a gifted communicator who possesses a desire to both involve others and assist those in need.

During her time with the Progressive, Sharon was involved in community fundraising for community crime prevention cameras, including the famous ‘Long Lunches’ which include entertainment and an opportunity for the community to gather.

An area where Sharon excelled was engaging with Council matters - she was proficient and timely in submitting applications to Council for grants and was always well informed by attending Council meetings, in particular on matters that affected Waitārere Beach.

Sharon would take the lead on compiling submissions to Council consultations including Long Term and Annual Plans where she would use her strategic thinking and writing ability to strengthen the voice of the Progressive and beach community.

Sharon was responsible for initiating the Progressive and Council “Welcome to Summer” initiative held at the Waitārere Beach Domain with the purpose of encouraging use of the community facility and welcoming new residents to the beach village.

Sharon also played a pivotal role in fund raising for the book “Waitārere - Our Past and Our People” which was a challenging project but her tenacity and determination for taking the lead made this a successful community project.

Sharon has continued to support and be proactive within the community by being heavily involved with the Beach Wardens where she is the co-ordinator and an active member, the Community Garden where she is the co-ordinator, mentor and participant, plus she supports beach clean-up days and the Community Book Exchange.

Sharon, you are most deserving of recognition with a Civic Honour, congratulations.

Joanna Mason

Jo has resided in the Horowhenua for over 45 years and during this time she has been actively involved with many organisations and is known as someone who is well respected, diplomatic, honest and who has a fair approach to any issue.

Jo served as a Horowhenua District Councillor for three terms from 2016 – 2022, the final term as Deputy Mayor. During this time, Jo was appointed to many external and internal committees including Horowhenua Neighbourhood Support, Horowhenua Health Workforce Trust and the Disability Leadership Forum. In addition, Jo was the chairperson of the Access & Inclusion Committee from 2019 – 2022.

Jo is a current board member of the Horowhenua Super Grans, now known as Skills 4Living, a position she was appointed to in 2015. Jo listens to others and offers practical solutions always respecting others points of view. She quietly and confidently works to reach a solution and is a valued member of the board. Jo is also currently a board member of the Horowhenua New Zealand Trust.

Many organisations reap the benefits of Jo’s business experience and community knowledge which enables her to offer advice and expertise in so many areas. Jo has empathy and a work ethic that means she always goes the extra mile to achieve a positive outcome.

The extent of Jo’s service to our community does not stop there. She has been a Fairfield School board member and chair, was involved in many sports teams when her three boys were at school, and has been very involved in the Horowhenua Rowing Club over the past 12 years undertaking both treasurer and secretary roles at various times. Many hours of hard work and leadership saw Jo awarded ‘Rowing NZ Volunteer of the Year’ in 2014 – a testament to her commitment and hard work.

Jo, this Civic Honour is in recognition of your commitment and commendable service to our community, over many years.  Thank you and congratulations.

Jan-Maree Hayes

Jan-Maree is a respected member of the Foxton community and has volunteered her time to many organisations, over a long period of time.

Most notably, Jan-Maree has stamped her mark on The Foxton Promotions Group who instigated the Foxton Easter Fair some 30 years ago. Jan-Maree has been a dedicated member of the team for over 25 of the 30 years of Foxton Promotion’s existence.

She has undertaken a wide variety of roles and a significant number of tasks, simultaneously on numerous occasions, along with extra responsibilities to ensure each year is more successful than the previous.

In addition, in recent years Jan-Maree’s input has been at leadership level.

The Foxton Promotions Group has two aims – the first is to promote Foxton as a tourist and visitor destination with the very first fair organised to lure into town a large group of caravan club members who were staying in Foxton for the Easter Weekend – 30 years on, the fair has grown to having over 200 stalls, music and family entertainment.

The second aim of Foxton Promotions Group is to support local schools and community groups by distributing the profits back into the community.

Jan-Maree and Foxton Promotions meets a minimum of once a month in the "off season" with a significant increase in the workload for the six months leading up to Easter. Although the group has always been small in number, they have been rich in enthusiasm, none more so than Jan-Maree Hayes.

Although Jan-Maree has spent many hours involved with other organisations such as Foxton Lions and the Athletics Club when that was in existence, none of these are equal to the literally thousands of hours Jan-Maree has spent year upon year ensuring the iconic Foxton Easter Fair continues to be one of the highlights of Foxton’s calendar year.

Jan-Maree, thank you for your dedication over so many years to the Foxton Community, congratulations.

Victoria Kaye-Simmons

Victoria is the quintessential volunteer having served her community in a range of roles and responsibilities for over 20 years.

One of the biggest impacts Victoria has had is as a Horowhenua District Councillor where she served four terms, from 2010 – 2022 and to say she went above and beyond the position description is an understatement.

Victoria has been a valued member of the Levin Budget Service Board since 2013 and is the current Chair. She has had huge involvement with Contact Incorporated, now known as Te Whare Mahana Community Hub – she was appointed to the board in 2013 as a Councillor representative and continues in this role today. She is described as a valuable board member with a deep understanding of the issues facing our community and is highly respected by those who work with her.

Through Te Whare Mahana, Victoria has been the driving force behind the Horowhenua Kai Club, a community initiative that has made fresh fruits and vegetables accessible to families at an affordable cost.

Victoria was appointed to the Horowhenua Family Violence Intervention Services Board in 2014 and is a current board member, and has given her service to Montessori, Betty Montford Kindergarten, TS Tutira Sea Cadet Unit, the Organic River Festival and Lift off Levin Balloon Festival.

As a Councillor, Victoria was appointed to Keep Horowhenua Beautiful in 2013 and appointed as chair in 2014, again a position she holds today where she plays a major role in organising clean-up weeks and other community initiatives. Through KHB and her Councillor role, in 2015 Victoria was appointed as the Zone Three representative to Keep NZ Beautiful, again a position she holds today along with being the current Keep NZ Beautiful Chairperson.

Victoria's contribution to the Muaūpoko Waitangi Day Event commenced in 2011 and she continues to remain involved which has been hugely appreciated by Muaūpoko and our community.

Victoria exemplifies the spirit of community service. Her contributions have left an indelible mark on our district, fostering connections, enhancing community wellbeing, and making a genuine difference in the lives of our residents. Congratulations Victoria.

Matai'a Aleni Feagaiga

Aleni has been a member of Fale Pasifika Horowhenua for past nine years and during this time has made a huge impact on the committee and within the Pacific People’s community. FPH’s aim is to improve health, educational and social outcomes for Pacific People, and to develop a thriving Pacific community. This has been achieved with significant results under the leadership and guidance of Aleni who held the role of chairperson from 2016-2023.

Aleni has had significant involvement in Pasifika Youth Jandal Jam and Pasifika Celebration Day festival which celebrated its 10 year anniversary in 2021.

In 2020, during the initial Covid Lockdown, FPH was granted $10k from MSD to support Pacific families with fruit and vege boxes and meat packs to support struggling households and alleviate financial strain. Aleni took it upon himself to personally pick up, and deliver every one of the support parcels, over a six week period, until the funds were fully utilised. This is a testament to Aleni wanting to do his bit to support our community in a time of need.

In 2020, through the Provincial Growth Fund, an opportunity arose for Council to collaborate with Fale Pasifika Horowhenua to apply to the Pasifika Churches Renovation fund. Aleni offered his assistance and time for this project as his church representative which resulted in a warm and freshly decorated place of worship, with upgraded kitchen, hall and toilet facilities.

Aleni is well known in rugby circles – he is a Life Member of College Old Boys Rugby Football Club and is the current Vice President where his dedication has strengthened the club and left a lasting impression on those fortunate enough to work alongside him. Although Aleni is an employee of Horowhenua Kāpiti Rugby Football Union, he continually goes above and beyond to support the development of young rugby players and create pathways, and has a particular interest in developing Pacific rugby and players, such as the Horowhenua Samoan Team.

Aleni is described as incredibly humble and he often deflects praise. This humility serves to further exemplify his character and the authenticity of his contributions to our community.

Congratulations Aleni, and fa’afetai tele lava for your service to our community.


All 2023 Award Recipients

2023 Civic Honours Awards Nominations Closed 

Nominations closed on Friday, 15 September 2023.

Recipients and their whānau will be invited to attend the Civic Awards evening in November 2023, when the awards will be presented.

Award categories

The awards have the following categories:

  • Community, cultural or religious affairs
  • Service to youth, recreation or education
  • Service to conservation.

Award criteria

The criteria for the awards are:

  • The service carried out by the nominated person must not be in a professional capacity or in the course of their paid employment.
  • Volunteers of any age can be nominated. Citizens can be nominated for the quality of their commitment or for the length of their service to the community.
  • Nominations that have been unsuccessful in previous years are welcome to be resubmitted.
  • Nominations must be made by two citizens of the district or by two executive officers of an organisation.

Civic Honours Award Guidelines and Full Criteria(PDF, 45KB)