As the district develops, we are not shy about recognising local people helping Clutha grow.

Third-generation dairy farmer Evan Dick was among those recognised by friends and the council at this year’s Clutha District Community Service Awards, for inspiring and seeing through many projects in Kaitangata.

In 2016, Mr Dick initiated a land-house package deal to encourage anyone to buy sections in Kaitangata and build their own homes.

He personally bought and cleared sections to get the ball rolling, and after helping secure the support of Sir Stephen Tindall’s $800,000 loan in 2020, established the Kaitangata Housing Trust.

As chairman he has been leading the trust’s goal to construct 10 houses within four years.

Supporters say the idea has ‘‘gone viral’’ with other towns in the district paying attention and considering similar projects.

His ongoing oversight has kept the trust’s vision on track and cemented a network of local contractors giving their best work on low-cost, high-quality homes while energising local business and employment.

‘‘Growing up, no-one likes to see shops and businesses closing down in their home town,’’ Mr Dick said.

‘‘But times are changing again, and now’s the time to make Kai shine with the facilities to attract families looking for a fresh start in a traditional Kiwi country town . . .

‘‘I’m just really grateful for all the people with the same idea, and want to work on it together.’’

Beginning in 2011, Mr Dick played a key role in replacing Kaitangata’s memorial hall with the 2019 Community Centre, where he remains chairman to oversee operations and maintenance.

He has been a board trustee for the local primary school and contributed to the growth of the Crescent Bar & Grill, encouraging its petrol and diesel operations.

Mr Dick is also a member of the Kaitangata pool committee, as it works towards a goal of assuming ownership and management from the council.

‘‘I have worked with Evan on many of these projects and been most impressed with his vision, energy and commitment,’’ Kaitangata co-ordinator Joyce Beck said.

‘‘He’s very humble about getting accolades. . . [but] there is not a day goes past that he is not on a work site with his tractor, unloading wood for builders or negotiating between future homeowners and the builders.’’