Date: November 8, 2019
Time: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
For Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand (PCANZ), Derek Teariki, who attends St Andrews Church in Hastings, was recently awarded a Queen’s Service Medal for his service to the Cook Islands community. This comes after almost two decades of working night shifts as a prison officer to avail himself to serving the people during daytime. Over the years, he had served in various roles in church and in the community.
A notable contribution is uniting the people to get a community hall back for the community’s usage, after finding out that it had been monopolised by a small group for the past 30 years to serve their own needs. Even though it took a court case to do so, and the community is still paying the debts incurred, Derek has applied for charitable status for the hall, and does extensive fund raising. The hall was extended in 2011 to host up to 500 people, and recent visitors have included a group raising money to rebuild schools, churches and meeting houses which were damaged during hurricane season in the Cook Islands. The wider community uses the hall for functions such as birthdays, weddings, reunions, workshops and fundraising events. Recently, the New Zealand Defence Force made it a base while doing free dental work and medical checks in the community.
The Queen’s Service Medal is a medal awarded by the government of New Zealand to recognise and reward volunteer service to the community and also public service in elected or appointed public office.