Gavin Scott

Gavin Scott

Citation Speech for Gavin Scott

There’s no doubting that Gavin Scott is a man that is driven to succeed. But when asked what it is that has gotten him to where he is today, he’s unequivocal about his main attribute.

“Passion. It drives you, because you’re not driven by money then. And my passion for botany, particularly in the Manawatu with my history in Feilding, drives me still and it won’t stop.”

His life was heading down a different path for a while. Gavin described himself as a “pretty good rebel for nine years” having found The Beatles and Steppenwolfe, as well as motorbikes in the mid 1960’s. He was also very successful in Karate, running his own dojo and he had the chance to head to Japan.

But things changed when he met his wife Brenda, a nominal Christian. Having never really bothered with religion due to his less than positive experiences as a child, he decided one more time to commit to Jesus for her and for himself. When he did and started praying, he noticed changes that made a difference to his life. He continued down that path and has worked part time as a Chaplain throughout the region for over 40 years for some of our biggest employers.

“I find people want hope and they want faith, and if I’m able to help them on that journey then that’s a huge privilege.”

After committing to Christianity, he found himself at home in nature and enjoying what he calls “God’s Creation”. And this is where Gavin’s passion for botany enters the equation.

“Where I’m walking, the footsteps have gone before me in Botany.”

His English ancestors were well renowned for botany, whilst his Scottish ancestors who emigrated to New Zealand were Kauri bushmen and were involved in the early timber trade in Feilding.

In 1991, Gavin started a restoration programme at Awahuri/Kitchener Park. The park was in a mess and with the closing of Borthwicks Feilding Freezing works, he gave people who lost their jobs a chance to learn new skills and keep busy whilst looking for job opportunities.

The floods in 2004 undone a lot of the work that Gavin and the volunteers achieved over the previous 13 years. But his determination, enthusiasm, stubbornness and passion led to him continuing the work that he started in restoring the park. That hard work has definitely paid off.

Over the years, Gavin has developed an understand of at risk youth, having experienced some of the same issues that they have been through themselves. The path that he was going down as a young man is relatable for many of the youth that he interacts with and that connection he is able to make has helped other come back from that path and head in more positive directions. He recognises that most youth issues come from a lack of self-esteem, and so he works to build theirs up. “He never judges people and is always prepared to give them second chances,” says Senior Constable John Samuela of Feilding.

All the supporting letters that we received for Gavin’s nomination reiterate that he is more than a worthy recipient of this honour. He has done an immense amount for our District over the last 30 years, through both his botany work and his duties as a pastor and chaplain. We’re incredibly privileged to have Gavin as a member of our community and this honour is welcome recognition of his work.