Award recipient: ‘I do it for my community’

Rewarded...Barbara Hanna of Tapanui says she was shocked to be chosen for the Queen's Service Medal for services to the community.

Giving back to the community is a trait Queen’s Service Award recipient Barbara Hanna says she picked up from her parents.

The Tapanui woman has been volunteering her time for 53 years in a variety of areas including sport, arts, events and community projects.

“I think it was probably my parents that instilled in me the value of doing something for a community, because they always did too,” she said.

She was shocked to learn she had been selected for the award.

“Everything that I do, I don’t do it for recognition. I do it because I enjoy it. I do it for my community.”

As the West Otago Community Board chairwoman since 2010, she has helped get a cellphone tower for the area, a back-up generator for the community centre, welcome signs at Heriot and Tapanui, flood barriers, and an aged care and medical centre.

She has organised the Tapanui Christmas parade for many years and helped organise major events such as the 2013 Goldfields Heritage Trust Cavalcade.

“I’ve enjoyed everything I do. It’s not a hardship,” she said.

She has followed her passion for the sport of netball and taken on administration roles with Blue Mountain College, West Otago and Otago Country Netball Union and served on the Netball Otago board.

With theatre being another of her passions, she has also been involved with the West Otago Theatrical Society since it first began in 1982, even serving as its president from 2000-2002 and 2011-2013.

She loved the West Otago community and if something needed doing, she just did it, she said.

She would keep going for as long as she still had the energy and love for the things she did.

“When you stop enjoying things, that’s when you give up, that’s what I think.”

While it could be time-consuming, she still managed to take time out for herself, she said.

“You’d be surprised in a small community how many things are on. There’s just so many things you can do.”

She enjoyed swimming during the warmer months as well as gardening and marching.

She also worked as the principal’s assistant at Blue Mountain College.

“I love my job at the college. I love the interaction with the kids,” she said.

“I still have that good feeling when I wake up in the morning for work.”