Friday, February 23, 2024

Rural community repays the favour to good neighbour

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Michael Taylor has volunteered his time for the good of his community for decades. When the cyclones hit, his community got a chance to repay the favour.
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In this year’s Land Champions edition, we celebrate domestic and imported people in agriculture, from the Italian clan that owns a slice of North Otago wool production to the teacher rebooting ag education in the hort heartland if western Bay of Plenty.

Micheal Taylor is a pillar of the Wairarapa east coast community. He is also a neighbour of ours who farms sheep, beef and forestry on some pretty hard hill country. It is a farm that has been in the Taylor family since 1886.

It is Michael’s off-farm activities, however, that make him a popular person on the east coast.

For a start he’s been the provincial secretary for Wairarapa Federated Farmers for the past 23 years. Being secretary of any organisation is hard work but more so with Feds, given all the complex issues they have to deal with.

Michael attends farmer meetings plus those of the executive, keeps the records and assists the president when required. He says his biggest challenge is to make sure everyone knows what’s going on and to get member feedback on major issues. “It’s time consuming but rewarding,” he says.

I rate Wairarapa Feds. It is well led, well run and very much part of the greater Wairarapa community.

Riversdale Beach is an ocean beach to the South of Castlepoint. It is busy with regulars coming from Palmerston North and Wellington as well as Wairarapa locals. It has a busy surf club that features in a lot of rescues.

Michael has been the club captain for 20 years. It’s a full-on job and he is the local representative on Capital and Coast Surf Lifesaving. His work is varied. For a start, he audits the surf patrols, which is followed by examining both lifeguards and boat handlers.

He regularly runs beach education courses for busloads of school kids from around Wairarapa. 

He is a Search and Rescue squad member.

On the lighter side, he is a passionate supporter of the Mighty East Coast Rugby Club based at Whareama, inland from Riversdale Beach. He was a Golden Oldie Rugby player of renown with an amazing burst of speed, and could sidestep off both feet. His ball-handling skills were legendary.

It is as first responder for Wellington Free Ambulance, however, where he is most valued.

His medical background is based on his lifeguard qualifications and needs refreshing every two years.

He can and does get calls 24/7. 

With heart attacks, accidents, general illness he gets a phone call, assesses the problem, handles it and communicates back to the ambulance base.

His main work involves assisting with pain management, asthma, allergies and breathing difficulties.

The locals are very pleased to have him in the community.

He’s also a passionate supporter of Surfing for Farmers, is a keen golfer and angler and skis on snow and water.

Michael is always thinking of others. When being interviewed for this story he talked about the cyclones and all the support he had.

He had Enhanced Taskforce Green on his property. He was highly supportive of his crew and proudly told me that they had put several of the team into regular work. He was effusive about the support he received from the East Coast Rural Support Trust and grateful for that from Farmlands.

It was great the community could give something back to Taylor after all the good work he had done and is doing, for them.

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