Anyone who knows Diane will know she has devoted her life to this community. Kapiti Mayor, Ross Church
Recognising community service
By Roger Childs
Kapiti does well in providing permanent reminders of people who have worked hard for the community. We have roads remembering former mayors Iver Trask and Brett Ambler; Joan Shirley is recalled in a small Raumati South park and last year KCDC’s foundation mayor, the late Barry Hadfield, had his name added to the Nikau Reserve.
Who knows, one day the section of Kapiti Road past the golf course may be renamed Ross Church Boulevard, and there might be a Jackie Elliott Park at the south end of Gawler Street in Te Horo Beach.
Now the Council is considering naming the Wharemauku Stream path after long serving Councillor Diane Ammundsen. This would be very appropriate, as she has been closely associated with conservation over many years and with the Wharemauku wetland in particular.
Lengthy and productive service
Her contribution to local body politics on the Kapiti Coast is considerable. Diane’s popularity with voters has seen her returned to office in every election since 1989. Much of the local community has appreciated her hard work, wide ranging experience and interests, and her no-nonsense approach to local government.
She has had a large band of loyal supporters over the years, however in the rough and tumble of local body politics there have also been vocal detractors. Regardless, her record in being a part of major changes and far-sighted decisions in the Kapiti area, speaks volumes for her commitment to progress on the Coast.
A key project which she fronted in recent years was the Aquatic Centre. This enterprise had its vociferous opponents, but is now one of the District’s major sporting facilities. She also has been involved in many initiatives in promoting facilities and fund-raising for youth ventures.
Beyond council service, Diane has had a long association with Guides and the Kapiti United Church.
Diane has also been a big player in the Council’s proactive approach to conservation and sustainability in the 21st century. For this reason in particular, naming a path in her honour would be highly appropriate.
Commitment to conservation
In recent years there has been a proliferation of Kapiti District conservation groups from North Otaki to Paekakariki, and Diane has been the key figure in fostering cooperation between them.
She is also the coordinator of Tikotu Stream Care and Restoration Group and was a leading light in the development of the Te Roto Wetland.
As regards the Wharemauku area, she has long been an active member of the Friends of the Wharemauku Stream which works mainly at the wetland. However she was also amongst the group who, in 2014, planted the banks of a tributary of the stream close to the Library and Community Centre.
So there are many reasons why it is highly appropriate to name the Wharemauku pathway (but not the stream!), in honour of long serving councillor and committed conservationalist, Diane Ammundsen.