Peter (Pete) Housiaux’s Queen’s Service Medal is for services to surf lifesaving and canoe polo, but his contribution to the Ōtaki community – where he was born and raised – is what he is best known for locally.
He and wife Ann-Marie have been generous with their time and resources, often with sponsorships through their Concrete Doctors company to help local organisations, or quietly assisting individuals. Many local organisations have benefited from the Housiaux generosity. They include not only those with which Pete has a personal interest, such as the surf club and polo club, but also the local fire brigade, the food bank, Friends of the Ōtaki River, Ōtaki Players Society, the Rāhui rugby and Whiti Te Rā league clubs, the Ōtaki Sports Club and many more.
It’s not the first award Pete has received. He has been inducted into the Ōtaki College Hall of Fame and the Kāpiti Horowhenua Business Hall of Fame, has been awarded a Rotary Paul Harris Fellowship, and twice awarded coach of the year and sportsperson of the year at the Kāpiti Sports Awards.
Pete has always had a love for the sea. He has been an active lifeguard for more than 50 years and a stalwart of the Ōtaki Surf Life Saving Club. He joined as a lifeguard in 1972 and has been on its committee for more than 40 years. He has coached many Ōtaki youngsters who have won national awards.
In 1987, Pete, Steve Elgar and Bruce Benseman formed the Ōtaki Canoe Polo Club. Pete has since coached at club, national and international levels, including several national women’s canoe polo teams. He led the New Zealand’s women’s division team when it won gold at the 2016 Canoe Polo World Championships.
Pete comes from a well-known extended Ōtaki family. His mother, Maxine Lowe, married John Housiaux. Maxine’s father, Tom, was the station master at Ōtaki Railway Station and John’s father, Laurie, was Otaki’s first known ambulance officer. Laurie also established a civil contracting company – Pete later set up his own contracting company, Construction Systems, which later became Concrete Doctors.
In the early 1980s Pete enrolled in the Territorial Army. The Army sent him to Fiji where he discovered his passion for working with people and training them to work to their full potential.
Pete is still a member of the Wellington /Palmerston North Marine Search and Rescue call-out squad and was recently involved in rescue works in the February Hawkes Bay Floods, he has also been a member of the Land Search and Rescue Team. He has also qualified as a helicopter pilot.
Today, Pete and Concrete Doctors are sought out by artists and architects for the company’s decorative work, including producing the work on the concrete panels that adorn the Ngā Purapura complex at Te Wānanga o Raukawa. Concrete Doctors has even been referenced as the concrete repair experts on the TV show Grand Designs New Zealand.
“People come to us when they have concrete problems they can’t solve,” Pete says.
Despite working all around New Zealand, Pete and Annemarie choose to keep their base in Ōtaki, where they recruit local people and use local contractors where possible.