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Ruapehu Citizens of the Year announced


Joseph Callaghan recipient of the Waimarino-Waiouru Citizen of the Year Award and Stuart Shaw recipient of the Northern Ruapehu Citizen of the Year Award with Mayor Weston Kirton. Photo / Ruapehu District Council

Two men from Taumarunui and Waiōuru have been awarded the Ruapehu Citizen of the Year Awards for 2023.

The awards are the Northern Ruapehu Citizen Award which is presented to a resident of National Park, Taumarunui and Ohura Ward area, while the Waimarino-Waiōuru Citizen Award covers the southern half of the district.

Taumarunui resident Stuart Shaw was awarded the Northern Ruapehu award for his many years of committed volunteer work on community improvement initiatives and serving as a role model for youth.

As founder of the Taumarunui Tramping Club, he introduced youth to outdoor activities and organised practical bush skills, programmes and outdoor camps as a Taumarunui Scout Group leader.

He established the Taumarunui branch of the Mountain Safety Committee and was a member of King Country Search and Rescue, leading successful search missions, and chaired the King Country branch of NZ Forest & Bird.

In 1978, he started the Te Peka Landcare Group to create a bush reserve area with amenities and educational programmes.

Joseph Callaghan, a serving soldier in the NZ Army, was awarded the Waimarino-Waiōuru Citizen of the Year Award for his commitment and leadership of the Waiōuru Taekwondo Club.

He took over the lead instructor role at the club in 2017 to ensure it stayed open and it now attracts children from as far away as Ōhakune and Taihape.

Callaghan balanced his duties in the club with multiple other responsibilities including Army duties, serving on the Waiōuru School board of trustees and being a dad.

Ruapehu Mayor Weston Kirton said Shaw and Callaghan were worthy recipients.

“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 Stuart and Joe the recognition and thanks that they deserve.”