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Going the distance . . . Waikaia woman Mairi Dickson spent 30 years on a committee to rebuild the Switzers Museum in Waikaia, which contains exhibits relating to Chinese gold-miners in the area. This was one of the accomplishments she was recognised for when she was awarded Soroptimist International of Gore Woman of the Year at the Gore District Community Awards last week. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

When Mairi Dickson’s husband Ray told her they were moving to Waikaia she cried – now she does not want to live anywhere else.

At the Gore District Community Awards last week Mrs Dickson was awarded Soroptimist International of Gore Woman of the Year in recognition of her contribution to the town.

Mrs Dickson said she grew up in Wendonside, attended Gore High School, married Ray in 1975 and was happily living in Gore.

“Then bingo, I was coming back here .. and it was sort of like ‘oh’ .. ” Mrs Dickson said.

“I cried when he said ‘I think we are going to shift back to Waikaia’ but now I couldn’t think of living anywhere else.”

In the 43 years she had lived in the town she had grown to love the small community.

“The community is like a big family and they’re mostly sweet but there’s a few nuts – a bit like chocolate.

“It’s a great wee place to live.”

It was true that people knew each other’s business.

“I tell you what – if there’s something wrong, you’ll be pleased everybody knows what you’re doing.”

In the time she had lived in the town there were not many volunteer roles she had not filled, except as a volunteer fire brigade member.

“I don’t want to do that.”

A pursuit she had especially enjoyed was her 30-year involvement on the committee to rebuild the Switzers Museum.

“I do like history and geography and I’m quite passionate about stories.

“If you don’t pass it on, you lose it .. and it’s gone forever.”

It was very satisfying when the museum finally opened last year.

It had been a shock to receive the community award, she said.

“You probably don’t think you are worthy.”