7 November 2022
With the support of volunteers, staff and the MEIT Board, this year’s Kootuku Rerenga Tahi award is awarded to Sue Reid.
A Kootuku's (white heron) visit is both rare and very special. This award honours a rare and special person who has provided longstanding exceptional volunteering service to MEIT. Sue also demonstrates values important to MEIT.
As a volunteer tour guide since 2002, Sue has taken numerous people and groups through the Southern Enclosure and Tautari Wetlands, introducing them to the project, to plants and she is particularly good at locating and identifying birds. Sue delights with her stories and those fascinating titbits of information she has accumulated that make her tour experiences so rich.
Sue was a Foundation member of the Maungatautari Education Committee (2002-2012) and has delivered exceptional learning experiences to all ages, from primary school groups through to tertiary groups, community groups and international groups. She always supports trialling of new activities and initiatives and generously supports the education team with her knowledge and teaching experience. Sue has provided inspirational learning experiences and created special memories and connections to our unique environment for thousands of students, parents and teachers over the years.
As well as nurturing people, Sue has cared for our wildlife. She leads the aviary team and regularly contributes as a member preparing sugar water for Hihi and Kākā and has organised teams to care for injured birds through their rehabilitation until re-released. She has participated in translocation work with Kiwi, Pitoitoi, Hihi and Titipounamu. Sue has also been involved in monitoring and surveying of these birds as well as Kōkako and Takahē.
Sue was a key person in organising and delivering on the idea for thousands of local school children to hold hands surrounding the newly fenced Northern enclosure. Together, their hands were lowered to signify the fence taking on the responsibility of protecting the maunga. In recent years, students now in their 20s have visited and recalled fondly, the memory of being part of that huge and significant event in the story of the Maungatautari project.
Over many years Sue has mentored staff and volunteers. Sue is our wise woman who offers a practical perspective and is unafraid to embrace change. Her flexibility, talents, and willingness to step into the gap is invaluable to the project.
Sue has contributed to the project through her boundless enthusiasm, positive encouragement, experience, and knowledge sharing. She has regularly volunteered much of her time in support of MEIT, week to week, year on year. And in this, we must also recognise Ashley, her husband, who has supported her and the maunga in his own attentive way.
Sue Reid is an inspiration to us all with her seemingly tireless energy and her kindnesses.