Alan Horsfall

Alan Horsfall

Citation Speech for Alan Horsfall

It would be easy for people passing through Rangiotu to think of it as a “blink and you miss it” community. As you cross the Oroua River bridge, the only obvious signs of its existence are the marae and a memorial hall.

When you dig deeper and find out more about these buildings, they reveal the history of Rangiotu and their significance to both Pakeha and Māori. But these buildings are tangible symbols of the contribution to the community by Alan Horsfall, who we are honouring today.

Alan has been residing in Rangiotu for 40 years with his wife Polly, who is originally from the area and of Rangitane descent. Between them they have two children and three grandchildren. They met through their shared love of music, in particular Jazz and Alan has been instrumental in the Manawatū Jazz Club and the Manawatū Savage Club, now known as Onstage Manawatū, in Palmerston North.

Jazz musicians are known for being a little bit crazy, and being a trumpet player himself, Alan is asked if he’d attest to that he says “well, the good ones are. But I’m not very good, so I mustn’t be crazy then?”

But he has done a crazy amount of work for his community and he has served has served on many different committees over the years, including the Rangiotu Memorial Hall Committee, the Bainesse/Rangiotu Community Committee, the Business Development Board and various Iwi and marae committees.

Through his wife, he began his involvement with Te Rangimarie Marae in 1975 and served as Chair and Treasure during his time on the marae committee. His background in the insurance industry was a significant benefit to the marae committee and his mana is recognised by those around the table with him and he was

When asked what it is that he believes the community who have nominated him would say his best attribute would be, Alan says that he’s not always a doer, but he’s good at coming up with ideas and pushing the community to become involved. This is backed up by the people that nominated him, who said “Alan has a way of getting people enthused about a project and welcoming new people to the area”. He’s known by locals in Rangiotu and Bainesse of being a bit of a handyman, fixing things that need it at the hall, the marae or the church, mowing the football field on his ride on mower. If you can’t reach him on the landline, you’re bound to find him at one of his usual spots tinkering or maintaining something.

Being a transient community, lots of young farmers come and go from the Rangiotu and Bainesse area, and so events like ANZAC Day commemorations and the annual Christmas party take on extra importance as it’s a chance for everyone to get together, socialise and connect. Alan is a key figure in making sure these events go ahead.

There’s two projects that Alan is most proud of. The first is the restoration of the meeting house at Te Rangimarie Marae, which you can see him standing in front of in the photo behind us. The meeting house was in a state of almost disrepair and if it had been left any longer, the whole thing would have had to come down. But as always, Alan came up with a plan to save the building, he galvanized the marae community to support the plan and implement it.

The other thing that Alan is most proud of is the restoration and upgrading of the Memorial Hall and moving the war memorial next to the hall. As he says, people will use venues that have good facilities and with the recent upgrade of the kitchen area of the Memorial Hall, the people of Rangiotu and Bainesse has one of the best halls in the district.

So, the next time you drive through Rangiotu and you pass the marae and the memorial hall, you’ll have a greater appreciation for their history and Alan’s efforts.

As former Councillor Barbara Cameron says, “Alan is a quiet achiever and a leader who is determined to serve his community without fuss or fanfare”. We hope that for today at least, you’ll forgive us for creating a bit of a fuss about you, as we thank you for the service you have provided over the years.