We were going to attend a surprise awards event organised by Volunteer Western Bay of Plenty: the Eves Realty Volunteer Excellence Awards 2015.
All finalist nominees together with their nominators had been invited to the early morning function at which the winners would be announced. I had nominated Ann in November for her services to Multicultural Tauranga.
Ann had followed my advice, jokingly given to her the evening before: “Tart yourself up, my dear. You never know…” Although she was going to work after the function, she had dressed in a bright turquoise jumper, a pearl necklace adorning her white blouse, and looked very smart.
On the road for a breakfast, or maybe more
“They better serve us some decent breakfast”, she said as we were leaving Greerton. I yawned approvingly. “I didn’t even manage to have a cup of tea”, Ann went on. Yawn again. “They better give you an award, not just breakfast”, I expanded on the topic after another long yawn, because who in their right mind would get up at the crack of dawn just to get a free bite to eat.
We arrived early, had a look around the hangar, then the breakfast arrived. Ann got her cup of tea at last, and we filled our plates with some fruit and muffins. Soon after, the programme started.
Huge goodie bags for every nominee
Unlike last year when those who did not receive an award got nothing, this year all finalist nominees were called on the stage and were given a huge shopping bag filled with goodies. And I mean huge. Given Ann’s low body height it looked especially huge in her hands. Then all nominees returned to their chairs and the presentation continued.
When it finally came to the awards, Ann was sitting stoically, maybe pondering how late she would arrive at her admin job once the whole thing was over. Then the citation for the first award winner was announced.
And the winner is…
As I had written the citation, I immediately knew it was her. It took a while for the penny to drop for Ann though (pun intended for a former Treasurer). When she realised the jury had chosen her to be Trustee of the Year, the napkin she had kept from breakfast suddenly doubled as a handkerchief as she discreetly wiped her eyes.
The award was presented by Envirohub general manager Marielle Haringa. She said the former Secretary and Treasurer of Multicultural Tauranga was an inspiration and that it was truly laudable how Ann Kerewaro juggled family and work commitments with her voluntary role. (Click here for the full citation.)
As we were driving back to Tauranga I had the impression that Ann was pleased at the surprise, and obviously the early rise had paid off many times over. Of course she didn’t show it. Maybe because she’s a Londoner. Staunchly British. Endearingly British. Congratulations, Ann!
By Margarete Kraemer
Media coverage: Bay of Plenty Times, 4 December 2015 and 5 December 2015, also Bay News, 17 December 2015