Ngā Ringa Raupā - Mona Williams

By Taroi Black

In honour of the Matariki season, Te Kāea is celebrating our unsung Māori heroes who go beyond the call of duty.  They're the people we forget to acknowledge and sometimes take for granted, but they continue to do the work rather than for recognition and we'll share with you their stories for the next month.

For many of us we like to keep our grandparents tucked up and protected, but tonight we meet an inspiring 85-year-old kuia who works tirelessly behind the scenes at the Takapuna Library in Auckland 7 days a week, who wakes up at the crack of dawn, all on a voluntary basis.

Mona Williams introduced herself, "My name is Mona Williams.  I'm from Otangaroa and Whangaroa County, Ngāpuhi.  I've worked at the Takapuna Library for 23 years.

My job on a daily basis is cleaning the kitchen, cleaning windows and wiping down the walls."

Her grand-daughter Nadine Hardcastle explains, "Everyday she is pretty routine.  Everyday she gets up at 2am to go to work.  So she's up at 2am ready for work and then she's coming home, and she's a box of birds and we're like, "Wow she's amazing!"

Mona says, "I do all those things, I also clean the toilets and the men's urinals."  While her son explains, "Despite her age, she's always on the go!"

"I will pull things apart and start cleaning it.  One of my managers keeps asking me, "How do you clean this?" - I will show you," says Mona.

"Although she works hard, she's always reminded that she is surrounded by love, and she's worked so hard to look after us all," says her son.