• Media release

13 Oct 2023

Raewyn Black presentation

Raewyn Black’s extraordinary contribution to her community has been recognised with a Community Service Award.

The Gropers Bush volunteer has been deeply involved in a long list of organisations and activities in Western Southland for more than 40 years. Her efforts were formally recognised when she received a Southland District Council Community Service Award at a meeting of the Oraka Aparima Community Board in Riverton on Tuesday 10 October.

Community board chair Michael Weusten and Southland District Deputy Mayor Christine Menzies made the presentation, after Mr Weusten detailed Mrs Black’s staggering record of community involvement.

She has been convener of the Riverton Christmas Parade for 29 years, after first becoming involved in 1984. Her responsibilities include arranging all the traffic management and road closure requirements, health and safety protocol, designing and building floats and making costumes – for many years at her own expense – and sourcing funding so that the parade remains a free event for all the community to attend.

She has been a Justice of the Peace since 2007, including nine years as education officer, training all Southland JP Association members.

Since 1981 she has been a member of Rural Women New Zealand, including eight years as president of the Fairfax branch and one year as president of the Thornbury branch. She has been involved in raising funds for many local community and national projects, and has helped families in need by making meals and lending a hand with babysitting and housekeeping in times of sickness. She instigated the Thornbury branch to co-ordinate Project Uplift, sorting and sending good-quality, pre-worn bras to Pacific Island countries.

Mrs Black has been a member of the Fairfax Hall committee since 1982. Over the years she has done a huge amount of fundraising to get the hall re-roofed, a new kitchen installed, and painted inside and out. She runs winter games nights at the hall for the Fairfax, Isla Bank, Gropers Bush, Ermedale, Pourakino and Ringway communities to keep them all in touch with each other, and helps to run events such as cabarets, cooking demonstrations and craft classes.

Her involvement with the Western Southland Floral Art Club dates back to 1989, and she has been the club president for over 20 years. As a national floral art teacher she teaches and demonstrates at monthly club meetings as well as at other clubs. Mrs Black organises regular exhibitions and displays to promote the art form in the area. She regularly supplies Anzac wreaths and bouquets for local commemorations and flowers for local churches.

For many years Mrs Black has been convener of Cancer Society Daffodil Day fundraising and collection in the Otautau area.

She was secretary on the board of trustees for Isla Bank School while her children attended the school, and was invited back as an advisory member after they had left school.

Mrs Black was a netball coach at club and Western representative team level and coached the Aparima College team to the South Island championships.

Over the years Mrs Black has been a member and president of the Riverton Plunket Mothers Club, secretary of the Riverton Pony Club, secretary of the Southland Coopworth Sheep Breeders Club, taught tap dancing, taught Sunday school, coached swimming for the Riverton and Thornbury clubs, played in the Waimatuku Pipe Band, choreographed several Aparima College productions and fundraised for all of these groups and many others.

Mrs Black was nominated for the Community Service Award by the late Ann Robbie QSM.

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