Community Heroes – Margaret Dillon

Community Heroes is an occasional column featuring volunteers in our community. This week we spoke to Margaret Dillon, known better around the community and to a lot of the local rangatahi (youth) as ‘Aunty Margaret’.

“Margaret is always supportive of our rangatahi. She is always encouraging and actively participating in all activities at school – she is one of the stalwart supports for all school events.” – Lisa Thomson

“Margaret supports numerous activities and groups in Whaingaroa, from feeding kids at RAS and transporting them to sporting venues, to visiting and doing crafts with the elderly at the rest home. She supports the community by taking and sharing her photographs of all events we have in town. She motivates people to give back to the community. All the local youths love her and call her Aunty Margaret.” – Whaea Wake

We caught up with Margaret to find out more about the wonderful contributions she has been quietly making…

You spent some time at Raglan Area School last year making food for the rangatahi. How did that come about?

I was in a classroom helping out a teacher in the cooking room, and she had two classes going at the time. One was doing paperwork and one was doing cooking. And one of the students said she was quite hungry. I asked her why she didn’t eat breakfast that morning, and she quietly said that there wasn’t any food at home for her to have breakfast or lunch. So, she’s really what inspired me.

I was thinking about what she had said that night and couldn’t sleep, so the next day I went to Whaea Bronwyn to talk to her about an idea I had.

Because there was no Tuck Shop at the time, I decided to do toasted sandwiches for $1, and also made vouchers for teachers to give to kids who didn’t have any money. Raglan 4 Square and Top Cut Butchery provided a lot of support to me with fruit, bread and meats, and myself and some amazing helpers were able to provide food from Term 2 to Term 4 when the Tuck Shop was finally open.

Our main purpose was really just to feed the kids.

You spend a lot of time with the rangatahi in our community. What have you learned from them?

It’s like looking at a book, and you’re not really sure of it at first. But once you get to know them, they’re not how you would assume that they are. And you’re able to guide them and learn from each other.

Why do you think it’s important to be active within your community?

They are our future. If we can help them now, then later on when they’re older they’ll do the same for the younger ones. Sometimes some kids need a little bit more guidance or just someone to talk to.

You’re rarely seen without your camera, what do you enjoy taking photos most of and why?

People. Capturing moments. When my father passed I had next to no photos of him, so I made a pact with myself to get a camera and take more photos of the people around me.

Aside from taking photos, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I love making cards and crafts. I go up to the rest home and make cards with one of the residents that I met at Care and Craft who also loves to make cards.

Community Heroes is an occasional column featuring volunteers in our community.
Sponsored by West Coast Health Clinic, 12 Wallis Street, ph. 07 825 0114.