Citation Speech for Vera Hunt
Vera Hunt is widely known to the people of Rongotea. If ever you need a question answered about Rongotea then Vera is the person you contact. She’s unofficially known as the village historian, although perhaps after this evening we can give her that official title.
In fact, when Vera came into Council to interview about this citation, she brought with her this cloth print of the old Manawatū County Council emblem from it’s centenary commemorations in 1976.
Speaking to Vera, you can tell that she’s passionate about where she comes from. So passionate that she produced this book about Rongotea, previously known as Campbelltown, which stemmed from the 125th Jubilee of Rongotea School back in 2006. It took 7 years to put together but as you can see, it’s quite a hefty book and 400 pages long, so it’s no wonder that it took so much time and effort. But this is just one of six books that Vera has written about the area.
A lot of the time with honours like these, we recognise people that have made contributions to the community in more visible ways. But it’s incredibly important that we capture the history of what has gone before us so that there is a record of it for future generations, and Vera has dedicated a significant part of her life to recording this history.
Never under estimate how much goes into producing these books, they’re time consuming for a reason, but as Ian McKelvie, who was Mayor at the time of the publication of the Campbelltown Rongotea book, said in his forward “Vera Hunt has left no stone unturned in capturing the essential drive and spirit that has made this rural Manawatū community what it is today”.
You couldn’t get this much information on the history of an area without being a people person, and that’s exactly what Vera is. She’s been known to knock on doors or stop people in the street to have a chat and document their stories for her projects.
But whilst Vera has been capturing history, she’s also been heavily involved in the community in other ways, especially through church which is a big part of her life. She’s a member of St Luke's Church in Rongotea and served as the treasure for a time, as well as secretary of the Combined Women's Fellowship, where woman from churches in the Rongotea area connect with each other, and she was also a member of the bible society committee.
The other passion in Vera’s life is pony clubs. She was a foundation member of the Te Kawau pony Club and serves as the patron of the Rangitīkei Pony Club as well. She’s affectionately described as the “camp mother” of the Rangitīkei club, as it often involved her looking after up to 100 children a week.
Vera, you’re a gem of a human being and a credit to the people of Rongotea. You’ve dedicated pretty much your entire adult life to the community through your work in producing these books, through the church (which as you say keeps you out of mischief) and of course your beloved pony clubs. Your work has been inspirational to many of us here this evening and we can’t thank you enough for what you have done for our community.