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16/05/2018 3:30pm
seat donated McMillan Milner Atwill sm

Left to right - Norm McMillan, Paeroa Ward Chair Paul Milner, Diane Atwill

More people can now sit up and take notice of Paeroa thanks to separate donations from Paeroa community identity Norm McMillan, and Paeroa Rotary. Plaques recognising both contributions were unveiled on two new downtown bench seats in the new Mackay Street development on Friday 11 May.

Paeroa Ward Chair Paul Milner thanked both parties for their generosity and said the seats would encourage people to sit and stay a while and enjoy all the wonderful things Paeroa township has to offer, for longer.

“I’ve tried both seats out and they have a wonderful view over the Paeroa Domain. It’s the perfect place to take a break from shopping, read a book outside the library, use the free WiFi, or take some time out to reflect on the enormous contribution people like Norm and Vera, and organisations like Rotary, have made to this community.”

Kindly donated by...

Former local accountant, Norm, and his late wife Vera, were always first to roll up their sleeves when things needed doing around the town. Their daughter Diane, who grew up in Paeroa, attended the plaque unveiling.

"Mum and Dad did so much for the community, from Lions Club projects to coaching kids' tennis and netball,” she said.

“Dad played a lot of rugby in Paeroa and then coached and managed the Thames Valley rugby team for many years – they even named the local rugby stand after him. Mum also managed, refereed and coached netball. The list just goes on and on, so it's really nice for this to be recognised."

The town has changed a lot since Diane was a student at Paeroa college. Childhood memories include evenings listening to her mum play the piano to entertain dinner party guests, and afternoons at local sports clubs. She says Norm, who served as a Paeroa Borough Councillor and Deputy Mayor, was known for his generosity but also for being shrewd with money.

Seat donated McMillan Bennett sm

Left to right - Norm McMillan and Roy Bennett

“They used to say if you dropped a paper dollar note on the carpet he’d hear it,” she laughs.

Although she’s moved away, Diane’s proud of her Paeroa roots and thinks the local community has done a wonderful job of getting themselves on the map for all the right reasons.

“In bigger places you don’t have the same sense of community as you do in places like Paeroa. I can really see the value of living in a small town and will always appreciate that this is where I grew up.”

Seated by Rotary

Long-time Rotarian, Roy Bennett, said the bench donated by Rotary is the latest in a string of seats the club has installed for weary shoppers and travellers around the town. Other Rotary sponsored sitting-spots include down by the river and alongside the Hauraki Rail Trail. Over the last 30 years the organisation has given $273,000 to the Paeroa community, mostly for College and Primary School projects. The organisation has also assisted local students heading off on overseas exchanges or other challenges on the high seas such as the Spirit of Adventure.