Volunteers play a crucial role in our community, and it was a pleasure to honor them during National Volunteer Week in Carterton. Over 100 individuals from various organizations, such as the Volunteer Fire Brigade and Keep Carterton Beautiful, were recognized for their selfless contributions.

Volunteers are the backbone of many community organizations, with over 90% being volunteer-led. In New Zealand, one in five people volunteers, contributing approximately 159 million hours each year. This dedication has a significant economic impact, with the sector contributing an estimated $4 billion to the national economy.

It is heartening to see both young and older individuals actively participating in volunteering activities. Youth engagement is on the rise, while older individuals, driven by a desire to give back, demonstrate strong participation rates. Their commitment fosters social cohesion and supports essential services, contributing to the well-being and resilience of our community.

Grant and Heather Smith, convenors of the Carterton Daffodil Festival, are shining examples of the impact volunteers have on our community. Their recent recognition in the King’s Birthday Honours is well-deserved, highlighting their dedication to community initiatives.

As a Council, we prioritize the four well-beings of our community: social, economic, environmental, and cultural. Volunteers play a crucial role in upholding these well-beings, contributing to the overall resilience of Carterton and Wairarapa.

Tonight, we celebrate the Charles Rooking Carter Awards, honoring individuals who have dedicated their lives to our community. This recognition is a testament to the hard work of our elected representatives, Council staff, and the community at large, who collectively make Carterton a vibrant and welcoming place.

I extend my heartfelt thanks to all volunteers in the Carterton District for their unwavering dedication and contributions. Your efforts make our community a better place to live and visit, embodying the essence of “he tangata, he tangata, he tangata” – it is people, it is people, it is people.

In closing, I want to acknowledge the invaluable role volunteers play in shaping our community and express my gratitude for their selfless contributions. Thank you for making Carterton a vibrant and inclusive place for all.