At its recent Changeover function, the Wellington North Rotary Club surprised Khandallah resident, Fiona McKenzie, with a Paul Harris Community Fellowship, an award made to someone who is not a Rotarian, but who recognised for their commitment to the community.

Outgoing President of the Wellington North Rotary Club presents Fiona McKenzie with her Paul Harris Fellowship

For the past 17 years, Fiona has been a coordinator of community activities at the Cornerstone Resource Centre located in the Khandallah Town Hall.

Forty years ago, The Cornerstone as it became generally known, began as an idea shared by a number of people, who identified the need for a safe, neutral space in Khandallah Village to provide help when needed and where people could meet and be together. Premises were obtained at a favourable rental and a trust deed was drawn up for the Cornerstone Resource Centre, which opened with support from Wellington City Council.

Thirty years after its establishment, changes were in the air with the owners seeking to sell the building, thus leaving the concession rental in doubt. At the same time, there was a locally-driven project to restore the historic Khandallah Town Hall. As the growing activities of the Cornerstone were becoming constrained by the limited space, the opportunity was sought for it to become an anchor tenant in the refurbished Town Hall. This was agreed with the Council, which then accepted the proposal with the addition that Cornerstone managed the building on behalf of the Council. This move, in February 2011, coincided with the Centenary of the original opening of the Town Hall.

With a higher profile, the Cornerstone is now run by a staff of three part-timers, responsible to the Trust. While being part of the team running the Town Hall, Fiona’s principal role is as a coordinator for community activities. There she helps run various groups and activities on a day to day basis. These include social bridge, craft and chat, Scrabble, a book group and a sit and be fit exercise group. From time to time there are social lunches, afternoon teas and movie mornings, which allow people to gather and socialise.

Visitors to the centre will find Fiona ready to welcome and show people around as well as being a mine of helpful information. She is a welcoming face for those who need someone to talk to and there is always a cup of tea or coffee on hand.