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Mayor Malcolm Macpherson presented Prof McCraw with a special award at the Central Otago Community Awards in Cromwell.
Prof McCraw's five books, Mountain Water and River Stream, The Golden Junction, Gold on the Dunstan, The Fruitful Land and Early Days on the Dunstan provided an accurate history of the area, Dr Macpherson said.
"John deserves a huge thank you for his work: it's a lifetime achievement. Alexandra's written history is mainly filled with John's work."
The Central Otago community celebrates the success and achievements of its people at the Central Otago Community Awards each year.
In the youth section this year, Bethany Summers (Maniototo) won the leadership category, Emma Rankin (Cromwell) won the award for culture, and William Heron (Maniototo) won the enterprise award.
Apprentice Awards went to Rebecca Fraser (Alexandra) for overall excellence, and Kurt Verduyn (Alexandra) for most developing potential through the year.
The district's new brand ambassador is Amie Pont (Maniototo).
Heather Benson (Waipiata), John Scott (Maniototo) and John Gibson (Patearoa) were the three recipients of community service awards for significant contribution to the community.
Service to the community awards were won by Derek Wardell (Cromwell), Glen Christiansen (Cromwell), Peter Lyon (Alexandra) and Ruth McNamara (Alexandra).
Provisions Ltd, of Cromwell, won the business excellence award, and the tourism award went to Lake Roxburgh Lodge.
Cheryl Sinnamon (Tarras) won the customer service award.