Arthur Wood

Arthur Wood

Citation Speech for Arthur Wood

When Arthur Wood is asked what feeling the word community invokes in him, he gives a very basic, but also universal answer that many of us could learn from.

“Community is what you make it. And if you get in and do things you become a part of it.”

There’s no doubting Arthur’s own influence on the Hiwinui community. Having lived his on the same road since he was born in 1954, he humbly questions whether or not he does a lot of work ion the community but the nomination form would beg to differ. He has been involved with NZ Lutheran Church, Hiwinui Community Committee, Hiwinui Action Group, Hiwinui School Committee and the later Board of Trustees, as well as a member of the Ashhurst Pohangina Lions. When pressed further he laughs and says “I’m seen as the chairperson of committees and I end up chairing all these committees”. As was acknowledged in his nomination letter, Arthur has provided a dignified, rational voice and a never wavering waving leadership to our community, which will go a long way to explaining why he is seen as an ideal chairperson of a committee.

Being on all these committees would be incredibly challenging for anyone but Arthur takes it in his stride. He has an incredibly supportive family and a very patient and understanding wife. He can look back on his contribution with great pride. It wasn’t always nice work. As the chairperson of the Hiwinui Action Group, they campaigned against a proposed landfill being put in the area next to the school and in productive farmland. With an organised campaign and strong expertise behind them, they were able to put a stop to the landfill. It was a bitter battle at times, but Arthur handled it expertly and the experience didn’t deter him from getting further involved in the community.

His relationship with the Lutheran Church is incredibly important to him. A committed Christian, Arthur has worked with youth over a number of years from leading meetings, to fundraising, as well as organising camps. His faith has driven him to be the person that he is today, as well as giving him a strong moral code and learning to respect others.

His work with the school is a continuation of an association he has had with Hiwinui School since he was five, when he first started as a student. He was there when school committees changed to being Board’s of Trustees and successfully navigated that political minefield. At the time, Hiwinui School was verging on closure due to low student numbers, but with an influx of new parents buying up sub divisions in Hiwinui, the school turned things around and now has approximately 160.

Alongside the stopping of the dump, it was as the Chairperson of the Hiwinui School Committee that Arthur achieved what he is most proud of and that was the 100th Jubilee celebrations of the school. The three day event was a huge success, with many families returning to the area to join in with the festivities and the parade stretched for miles. Stopping the dump was a feeling of great relief, but the excitement he felt after the Jubilee celebrations is visible on Arthur’s face to this day. He glows when speaking about it, so it must have been one heck of a party.

When asked how he felt about receiving a community honour, Arthur says it came from completely out of the blue. He’s a bit of a technophobe, he can’t use a computer and his phone is one of those old Nokia brick type phones from the early 2000’s, which he was having trouble with recently. His friend Richard Fernando, who is an IT professional, had helped him to fix it but left a message with his wife that he had some good news for Arthur and that he would give him a call. Arthur was thinking that Richard would tell him he found a phone for him that he would just need to talk to and it would do anything for him.

But no, he rang to tell him that he was receiving a Community Honour.

And in his typically humble way, Arthur was blown away by the news.

His commitment to the Hiwinui Community is perhaps best summed up by Hiwinui School Principal, Brenda Leigh.

“I hadn’t been at the school long before a man in his overalls knocked on my door one afternoon and said. “Hi, I’m Arthur a member of the community – I don’t have any children at the school any more but you can always give me a call if you need help with anything”.
“And true to his word he has always been there if needed.”

“A man true to his word, who is a proud Hiwinuian.”