Village recognises staunchest citizen

Former local body councillor Taylor Reed outside his Arrowtown home last week after receiving an honorary life membership from the Arrowtown Village Association last month. Photo by Olivia Caldwell.
Former local body councillor Taylor Reed outside his Arrowtown home last week after receiving an honorary life membership from the Arrowtown Village Association last month. Photo by Olivia Caldwell.
A stalwart of the Arrowtown community is how many describe former local councillor Taylor Reed and this week I found out why.

Mr Reed (79) was last month made an honorary life member of the Arrowtown Village Association for his contribution to the community - the first to receive that honour.

Arriving at Mr Reed's home it is clear this is not the first award he has gained for being a community man.

There are at least eight awards on the lounge wall including: three from the Queenstown Lakes District Council, two from Lions International, an Autumn Festival certificate, an Arrowtown Bowling Club life membership, and, perhaps the most impressive, the shiny silver plate from the Arrowtown Curling Club.

This man is used to being in the limelight, but it does not alter his ego.

"I felt other people were more deserving than me."

Queenstown Lakes district councillor for the Arrowtown ward Lex Perkins said Mr Reed had been a "main backbone of the whole of Arrowtown" and this was just a small token of the AVA's appreciation.

Mr Perkins admitted he still approached the former local councillor for opinions from time to time because "he's local".

"He is a great stalwart of all of the Arrowtown community really ... He has so much knowledge of the history and can explain from that point of view. Eighty percent of Arrowtown is full of newcomers like myself."

Mr Reed was born in Alexandra in 1933 and has lived in Arrowtown since, with an exception of four and a-half years in Southland, which he admits was a huge test because of the weather.

During those 70-odd years he has seen the change from the old kerosene street light system, when Paddy McBride with his ladder would light them with for 365 days of the year, to the introduction of electricity in 1945.

During Labour Weekend, Mr Reed was a guest speaker for the Arrow Gold 150 celebrations and said the biggest change had been the rise in population of the historic gold-mining village.

In 1937, the recorded population was only 147. Today, it has leapt to 2500, according to 2006 census estimations.

Although he is all for the expansion to date, Mr Reed put his vote to keeping Arrowtown's boundary as it is and "preserving the history".

This is why he has spent 27 years on the Lakes District Museum board, of which he is chairman, and said it was his biggest priority now.

His local council contributions have included 15 years of service on the Arrowtown Borough Council, six years as deputy mayor, and nine years on the QLDC before he stood down at age 66.

He has been made a life member of the bowling club and had an great involvement with the RSA and the Lakes District Museum.

"That's what I do, I tend to grip on to things," he said about his longevity in community groups.

Mr Reed quit the Arrowtown Village Association five years ago after starting with it on day one, 22 years ago.