Civic Awards 2000


28 November 2000

Eleanor Bissell. Over 400 children enjoy activities associated with being a member of the Kiwi Kids Conservation Club, the junior section of the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society.  For the past ten years this dedicated volunteer has been involved with the Club, providing children with opportunities to experience the beauty of Canterbury’s natural assets from Arthur’s Pass to the Estuary.  She has enabled hundreds of school children and adults to have the satisfaction of planting native seedlings at the Travis Wetland Nature Heritage Park in Burwood, and encouraged them to understand and value the ecosystem of the Park.  From her the children learn to care for the environment and be concerned that our country’s unique biodiversity should be preserved.

Vesta Boswell. Fifteen years ago, working as an Industrial Nurse in Lyttelton she found that many young people in the work force were using drugs.  She co-founded and has continued to direct PRYDE an organisation of Parents Reaching out to Young People with Drug Education. Initially education was targeted towards the parents of intermediate school children as well as those of third and fourth formers.  As Parent Peer Groups began to flourish the need for input into classrooms and the wider community grew dramatically.  Today parent groups, pupils, schools staff, community groups, medical centres and the police throughout New Zealand all seek the professional input of PRYDE.  The quality of the education material PRYDE publishes to meet the needs of these groups is outstanding.  She is a woman to whom we owe a large debt for teaching our families to keep saying “no” to drugs and for expounding loudly and clearly the important message that we must look after the youth who are not using drugs and celebrate the lives of those who make this choice. 

Stuart Duncan Buchanan.  Over the last thirty years there would have been very few young musicians in Christchurch with a yen for jazz music who have not been influenced by this man.  It is almost entirely due to this largely self-taught musician that jazz and pop music now flourish in Canterbury schools.  He taught clarinet, saxophone and flute at many schools and started the stage band at the Christchurch School of Music.  Many local players who have found success both here and overseas look fondly back on the encouragement and help they received from him.  Recognised as one of the foremost saxophone players in the country his experience as a player, composer, arranger and conductor is second to none.  Among the many international artists he has performed with are Nat Adderley, Shirley Bassey, Wild Bill Davison and Mike Nock.  A recent article in the Christchurch “Press” noted him as one of the “greats” of Christchurch jazz.  At seventy years of age he continues to play great music, write musical arrangements and conduct the Garden City Big Band as well as help young musicians.  His generous contribution to the musical life of Christchurch deserves the acknowledgement of everyone.

Alan Burlton . He attended the initial meeting of the Schizophrenia Fellowship New Zealand Incorporated in 1977.  Since that time he has continued to work tirelessly for the national body and the Canterbury Branch where he has been both Secretary and Chairperson.  His compassion, patience and total commitment to the need for improved mental health services has endeared him to people with mental illness, their families and caregivers.  His balanced approach has also earned him the respect of health professionals.  He has freely shared his experiences and knowledge of coping with mental illness and is always a willing advocate for those needing help.  Since his “retirement” from office holding he has continued to work as a volunteer for the Fellowship and is also known for his cheerful help and encouragement to the members of the Burwood United St Kentigern’s Church.

 Jean Carr. She has been a volunteer at Christchurch Hospital for fifteen years and currently spends four full days every week on an entirely unpaid basis in the Parkside Outpatient Department, an area which sees more than 70,000 patients each year.  Volunteers are normally permitted to work only one or two days a week but she insisted at the start that she wished to spend four days in the department and has continued with these hours for the past eight years.  She is an “angel of mercy” who provides tremendous support and reassurance to patients in her “meeting and greeting” role, assisting them to waiting areas, phoning for taxis, finding drinks, and thereby enabling the nursing staff to focus on the delivery of clinical care.  During her lunch hour she frequently visits patients on the ward.  She is always reliable and punctual and performs a vital service in a very busy hospital department. 

Ronald Douglas Cormack. Those who give of their professional expertise are generous indeed, and every organisation that handles accounts of any sort has need of an accountant to ensure that the books are maintained to legal requirements.  Besides his invaluable professional skills, he has also brought the gift of sympathy and the art of mediation to a number of organisations where such things are sorely needed.  In a world where traditional extended family ties are crumbling, and traditional social roles are constantly being re-examined and redefined, there are many who need such help. He has been Chairman of the Mensline Support Group for twelve years, acting as a facilitator and also undertaking most of the administration for a group that gives help to the many men who are struggling to find their place in a constantly changing society.  He has been Chairperson and Treasurer of Presbyterian Support, Chairperson of Marriage Guidance, and is currently Clerk and a Member of St Ninian’s Parish Council.  

John Downey. His interest in radio began in 1952 when he auditioned to be a radio announcer.  Although he had the bass baritone voice required of announcers at that time he was not successful and moved to the technical side, gaining his amateur transmitting licence in 1972.  He was also keenly interested in movie-making, winning many of the Christchurch Movie Club competitions and eventually becoming their chief projectionist as well as being on the executive for over ten years.  In 1979 he returned to radio and made several current affairs broadcasts on Radio Avon.  In 1991 he began an eight year stint at Plains FM as a volunteer announcer and program maker, producing the Video Camera Society’s programme.  From 1994 he presented “Say it with music” and also co-presented another show “Classics – for easy listening”.  In 1997 he resurrected Radio Redwood which he had founded in 1973.  When not busy at the radio station he works as a volunteer staff member at Community Access Television in Christchurch and last year was Director of Photography for the TV series “Never Say Old” which screened in December.  

Margaret Evelyn Fowler. She has spent her life pursuing horticultural excellence, and worked tirelessly for various horticultural societies in the roles of judge, tutor, organiser, committee member and adviser.  Her services as a competition judge are much in demand and she travels many miles throughout Canterbury to do this work. Her enthusiasm for horticultural activities is amazing and her encouragement to others is legendary.  She never refuses a request for help and advice, is an inspiration to many, and has done a great deal to enhance Christchurch’s Garden City image.  She is held in the highest esteem in horticultural circles, not only here but in many countries throughout the world and in 1999 had the distinction of being named Dahlia Personality of the Year.  She has also encouraged many schoolchildren to participate in horticulture and worked with Brownies and Guides to help them obtain their Horticulture Badges.  Together with her late husband she was instrumental in setting up the Bell Property at Templeton for the Canterbury Horticultural Society which is the source of many flowers for the Floral Festival.  Her energy is boundless and her hospitality to local as well as overseas horticultural enthusiasts is second to none.

Mona and Colin Hampton. This couple have for almost twenty years been involved in an important social service through the Oxford Terrace Baptist Church.  They were instrumental in setting up a Friday night Drop In Centre in 1982 and regularly welcome some forty people there for supper and friendship.  They co-ordinate a roster of helpers and make sandwiches, providing the caring environment which is so vital to many socially isolated people in the area.  The frequent presence of glue sniffers requires particular skills which these two provide.  They are also Trust members of the Women’s Refuge run by the church, and raised over two hundred thousand dollars over a four year period to enable the Refuge to operate.  With their dedication and caring they have helped hundreds of people over the years.

Lin (Elinor) Hillier . She has devoted much of her life to being a volunteer for many organisations, especially in the New Brighton area, but also in the wider Canterbury community.  For many years she has been the co-ordinator of volunteers for the Pier Promotion Trust and has recorded on video nearly all the events and celebrations for the building of the New Brighton Pier as well as working tirelessly to raise funds.  She is a committee member of the New Brighton Residents’ Association and the heritage committee of the Mainstreet Programme, has prepared and led heritage walks around New Brighton, and been involved in planting and enhancement projects.  Helping others is a high priority in her life, demonstrated by her work as an adult literacy tutor for the W.E.A., fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, community crèche worker, and volunteer for Women’s Refuge. With all these involvements she has still found time to be a volunteer at Birdlands Sanctuary and do work on back country huts for the Department of Conservation.  She is a loved and devoted mother and gives one hundred per cent in a humble and tireless way.  

Brian Lee,. He was elected to the Trust Board of the Canterbury Volunteer Centre in 1992 and his experience of volunteering and management have proved invaluable in maintaining professional standards within the Centre.  In 1995 he was elected Chairperson and in the absence of a suitable Treasurer also assumed that role in an ‘acting’ capacity.  The Board considers that his ‘acting’ is so good he should receive an Oscar, and greatly values his contribution and his ability to make financial reports relevant and understandable.  He brings caring and thorough consideration to all issues and for the past two years has served on the Executive of the New Zealand Federation of Voluntary Welfare Organisations.  As well as giving many hours to the Volunteer Centre his expertise benefits other organisations, large and small, especially the Rotary Peer Support project in schools.

Vera Alice Livingstone. Her interest in horticulture first developed when her husband was a foreman at the Invercargill Botanical Gardens.  The Curator recognised her dedication and soon she too was employed there, in charge of the extensive rockeries.  In 1969 the couple moved back to Christchurch and took responsibility for the world famous Sanitarium Health Food Company Gardens at Papanui.  For fifteen years they spent many voluntary hours above their paid time maintaining these gardens to such a level that they won every top award.  Since her retirement she has continued to act as an advisor to the Sanitarium Health Food gardeners while also being first secretary, then president of the Papanui Beautifying Society.  In recent years she has been a very active committee member of the Christchurch Beautifying Association and the Floral Festival organising committee. Recently she has been active in landscaping and maintaining the grounds of Ilam Lodge home for the Aged as well as giving garden talks to schools, garden clubs and retirement homes.  She should be recognised for her very significant contribution to our Garden City image and for her compassion and genuine regard for the welfare of our citizens. 

Mabel McClelland. She has devoted over 13,500 voluntary hours to Orana Park over the past twelve years.  This is the equivalent of seven years full-time work.  During that time she has been involved in most areas of the volunteer programme there, but over the past three years she has devoted her time to fundraising activities, concentrating on selling raffle tickets and painting children’s faces.  During these three years she has personally raised over forty thousand dollars from these two activities alone.  This represents the sales of thirty-one thousand raffle tickets and the painting of nine thousand children’s faces.  The money raised has gone towards the feeding and care of Orana Park’s animals and is a significant proportion of the Park’s fundraising efforts.  She usually volunteers at the park four days a week from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. but during all school and public holiday periods she increases this to seven days a week.  Her contribution to Orana Park’s volunteer programme and to the Park’s fundraising has been invaluable.  

Jessie Maezena and Cyril O’Neill. The history of our society could produce a very long list of those tragically lost in coastal waters.  Many hundreds of people, mostly young, have been accidentally drowned on New Zealand’s beaches, and the tragedy is the greater because the vast majority of these deaths would have been preventable, had the victims but heeded a few simple safety rules, such as those that are put in place by surf life saving clubs.  Working together these two people have been active members of the North Beach Life Saving Club for a combined total of 136 years and for forty-seven years they ran raffles to raise funds for community organisations.  As volunteers they have been involved with St John’s Ambulance, NZCCS, New Brighton Rugby Club, North Beach Residents’ Association, North Beach Swimming Club, and the Rawhiti Golf Club.  They have been awarded Life Membership of several of these organisations in recognition of the tremendous contribution they have made.

Malcolm Ott . For fifteen years he was Treasurer and Council member of The Canterbury Society of Arts and was instrumental in doubling the society’s membership and paying off the mortgage on the Gloucester Street COCA Gallery.  In his role as Treasurer and committee member of the Greek Orthodox Community he initiated and completed the purchase of the Community Church in St Albans.  He has been a Trustee of the Theatre Royal Trust for twenty years during which time the Theatre has been purchased, renovated, and expanded into an active, lively theatre.  He has also been a Trustee of the Olivia Spencer-Bower Foundation, the Canterbury Division of the Cancer Society, the NZ Red Cross Foundation, the McLean Institute and the Christchurch Civic Art Gallery Trust.  He was founder Chairman of the Christchurch Seattle Sister City organisation.  As Christchurch/U.S.A. Consular Agent for fifteen years he helped to cement Christchurch relationships with the U.S.A. with particular respect to the continuing “Deep Freeze” operation.  Over the past fifty years he has worked continuously to help establish and administer numerous charitable trusts which will carry on in perpetuity because of sound investment policies.

John Patterson. It is in his nature to be concerned for the welfare of others. When the public service was restructured in the early eighties, Southland was particularly hard hit by unemployment and he set about to assist. Working first with the Social Impact Unit of the State Services Commission, he later set up the Southland Employment Resource Centre and by 1990 was instrumental in the creation of the Invercargill Mature Employment Service. In 1991 he brought his skills to Christchurch and, in association with the Community Employment Group, became in time the National Co-ordinator of the Mature Employment Support Association. In his current role as Third Age Co-ordinator for the Canterbury Development Corporation, and with his involvement with the New Zealand Positive Ageing Strategy, this carpenter from Newcastle remains at the forefront of a movement that knows what many have forgotten: that the years bring experience, skills and perspectives that are invaluable to a vital community, and central to the corporate wisdom without which no community can thrive.

Constance Payne . In 1997 she retired after thirty-four years of voluntary work with Canterbury Health’s Blood Donor Service.  She was the longest serving volunteer in the history of the service having donated 102 units of blood up to the age of sixty-five, and then continued working as an unpaid nurse aide.  For the past fifteen years she has been Secretary of the Woolston Welcome Club and for forty years the Leader of the Woolston Entertainers.  During this time she has raised thousands of dollars for charities and so far this year has put on over fifty shows in homes for the elderly.  She has also been involved with Red Cross, Meals on Wheels, Library service for the elderly, Mayors Welfare Fund and Civil Defence.  Now in her eighties this widow of an ex-prisoner of war was nominated for her continuing dedication to helping people and making them laugh.  Her service is an example of community spirit and commitment that provides a wonderful role model to younger generations.

Mike Peters. His passion for indigenous plants led to his planting first his own back yard, then the 1,500 square metre Eel Creek Reserve behind his home.  Inspired by his vision seven neighbours gradually knocked down their fences and began planting the expanding reserve in native trees and shrubs.  The Addington Bush Society was set up to legally protect the ownership of neighbours’ combined backyards. Because of the huge interest it generated, it spawned the New Zealand Ecological Restoration Network.  He has been the driving force behind this Network which links 111 groups and more than three thousand members nationwide.  Committed to hands-on restoration the groups publicise plantings, share resources, and provide details of their own projects on the network’s website.  He has spent thousands of voluntary hours talking to groups and has set up a large database of ecological restoration projects.  He loves the natural environment and is happy to put in the hours because of his total commitment to biodiversity. 

David Pierce. He was Chaplain at the Templeton Centre from 1990 until it closed earlier this year.  Throughout that time he worked many extra hours acting as a strong and effective advocate for the residents and supporting staff through the many changes.  His creativity led to the development of the Community Liaison Chaplaincy linking community houses to churches throughout Christchurch – a development which is unique in New Zealand.  He has also written a history of the Chapel of the Holy Family.  His nomination for a Civic Award was supported by the Templeton Welfare Council, Rescare, and the Christchurch Hospitals’ Chaplaincy Board. 

Haydn John Rawstron . For three years he has chaired the Canterbury Association 2000 which is an Anglo-New Zealand committee based in London and named after the Canterbury Association which founded Canterbury and Christchurch.  Its membership includes several descendants of members of the original 1850 Association and its Patron is Her Majesty the Queen.  The Association commissioned The Cantata which celebrates the journey to New Zealand of the Canterbury Pilgrims to found Christchurch and Canterbury, the only church settlement in the history of the former British Empire.  The Association also helped to organise a Service of Thanksgiving in St Paul’s Cathedral, London to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the founding of Canterbury and Christchurch.  In 1995 he established the John Robert Godley Trust to provide a source of patronage and support for Canterbury culture and history.  His encouragement for New Zealand artists is without peer and he has done as much if not more for New Zealand’s cultural exposure than any other single Cantabrian. 

Sam Roberts. He has been a voluntary worker at Orana Wildlife Park for the past twelve years and has now contributed ten thousand hours towards the Park’s volunteer programme.  Initially he was involved with the development of the bus, shuttle and walking tours of the Park.  His natural rapport with children then led him to specialise in leading school group tours for the next few years. He has devoted several thousand hours to the single-handed design, construction, and management of three major displays featuring the Kakapo, Kiwi, and Tuatara respectively.  Each display fills a building ten metres by eight metres and has involved at least six months of research and preparation.  Local schools have arranged visits specifically to give their pupils access to his knowledge.  Needless to say the displays have drawn unanimous praise both from conservationists and Park visitors in general.  He also single-handedly staffed each display from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. seven days a week for the three to four month life of each display.  All of this has been achieved despite his suffering from the advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease.  His contribution to Orana Wildlife Park and to conservation is immeasurable.

Eric Charles Rowe. He has been an athletics coach for thirty-three years, starting with the Cashmere-Hillmorton Athletic Club and continuing through various clubs to his current association with the New Brighton Athletic Club.  Over the years he has guided some of Canterbury’s and New Zealand’s top athletes, including Peter Renner who represented New Zealand at the Olympic Games.  More recently he has been coaching a small group of field and multi-event athletes, one of whom, Mark Speyer, won this year’s Canterbury Decathlon Championship.  He is a director of the Canterbury Development Squad which works to develop up and coming talent in the region.  He has also been involved in coaching speed roller skating and ice skating, with one of his proteges, Mark Rushton, representing New Zealand.  The New Brighton Athletic Club Incorporated is extremely happy to nominate him for his service to club athletes and to Canterbury athletes in general over the last thirty-three years.

Peter Seymour. He always puts exceptional energy into any project he undertakes and has been actively involved in raising funds for the New Brighton Pier as a trustee of the Pier Promotion Trust.  In the early 1990’s he was Co-ordinator of the New Brighton Mainstreet Project and has helped with many community events.  As an accountant he has undertaken much volunteer work auditing the books of various voluntary organisations, including the Travis Wetland Trust, Pegasus Charitable Trust and the Coastline Art and Craft Co-operative.  He is an active member of the Ascot Freeville Residents’ Association, the Hockey Association and the New Brighton Photographic Club.  His commitment to the community is well deserving of recognition.

Maurice James Staunton.  In 1954 he was a founding member of the Riccarton Horticultural Society where he has held various offices and is still an active committee member.  For fifty years he has worked long and hard to promote the Society and horticulture in general, generously sharing his vast knowledge and giving numerous talks to interested groups.  He has made his own property available for pruning and gardening demonstrations and his pruning expertise has been shared with many apprentices from the Botanic Gardens.  His encouragement and instruction have enabled local Guides and Brownies to obtain their horticulture badges and instilled a love of nature and growing things which has led to many of them taking part in horticultural competitions.  Now aged eighty years he is still in great demand as a judge of flowers, fruit and vegetables at horticultural shows.  He is always willing to help with any gardening problems and his love of his subject is an inspiration to both young and old.

Sumner Surf Life Saving Club. Over the last summer season this surf life saving club performed sixty-four rescues, more than any other club in the Canterbury District.  They won the competition for the top patrolling club in Canterbury, the B P Trophy for the top New Zealand Club, the West Coast Trophy for Premier Mass Rescue, and the Houriaux Trophy for Premier Assembly Rescue.  All this from a small club with only twenty-five active patrolling members – a club which five years ago had resorted to employing paid lifeguards to do their patrols.  One reason for their success is that there is now a strong core of young people involved in every area of the club.  The people who do the patrols are the people who compete and the same people hold many of the positions on the club committee.  The Club took advantage of the assistance offered by Surf Lifesaving Canterbury to develop and implement a plan and this has well and truly paid off.  

Supergrans. This organisation was started in 1996 by people from the Mature Employment Service who saw a need for support for young families who lacked some of the traditional domestic skills.  Volunteers were recruited and trained to go into homes and teach such basic skills as cooking, budgeting, sewing, gardening as well as give help with parenting issues.  The ideal volunteer is someone who has raised a family and often struggled through hard times to ensure the family’s needs were met.  They know how to balance time, have been in control of the budget, and sometimes have helped to run a family business.  Above all the volunteers are non-judgemental and want to pass on skills learned through having been there and done that.  The organisation also offer courses in machine and basic sewing skills which have enabled many women to learn to do basic repairs and set them on a path towards paid employment.  In Today’s society when so many lack any extended family to pass on basic skills this group fulfils a vital need.

Graham Tapper. For many years he has worked tirelessly for improved conditions and greater recognition for those with disabilities.  He is a Past President and foundation Secretary of the Paraplegic Association (now Parafed) and a co-opted member of the NZ Paraplegic and Physically Disabled Foundation.  He also has a long involvement with the Christchurch Disabled Persons’ Assembly, being President form 1992 to 1997 as well as representing the Assembly on other organisations.  He chaired the Organising Committee when the Disabled Persons Assembly National Conference was held in Christchurch in 1995.  While a member of the Disabled Persons Assembly he was heavily involved in issues relating to access for people with disabilities including accessible outdoor walkways.  He is a foundation member of the NZ Spinal Trust, belongs to the Hanmer Forest Camp Trust, participates fully in the life of St Paul’s Church Papanui, and is a member of the Papanui Rotary Club.

Gerald Pilkington Ward.  In 1983 a group of retired men living in the Sumner/Mt Pleasant area formed a Monday morning working party to build and improve walking tracks and plant native trees in the eastern part of the Port Hills.  Working under the auspices of the Summit Road Society they called themselves the Eastenders and over the years have been a happy gang and readily recruited others.  This was due in no small part to this man who was their leader for eleven years during which their number rose to over forty.  In 1994 he chose to pass the leadership on to a younger member but has continued to work with the group and give sound advice.  His fine example of friendly, unassuming and conscientious leadership has helped bring the present roll of the Eastenders to 47 ‘eager beavers’.  His other areas of community service include the Mt Pleasant Tennis Club, the U3A Arts Centre Committee, the Canterbury University College Council, the Canterbury Development Council, and the NZ Fruitgrowers Association.

Cora Jane Zuppicich.  Now aged eighty-eight, she has lived in the Bryndwr area of Christchurch for the majority of her life.  Widowed at sixty-two she devoted her life to community service and involvement with St Matthews Parish.  She is involved in fundraising and charitable work, a Life Member of the Catholic Women’s League and mission convenor for a Tongan Mission Station.  The Indian Mission Station of a locally born priest benefits each year from the fair she convenes to raise funds.  For the past ten years she has been convenor of the St Matthews Friendship Group, an ecumenical organisation catering for the needs of the elderly in Bryndwr.  She arranges speakers, entertainment, mystery bus tours and luncheons.  Pregnancy Help Christchurch benefits from the goods provided by a sewing and knitting circle which meets weekly in her home.  Despite advancing years and restricted mobility she maintains her role of liaison and leadership within the community, providing inspiration to all who come in contact with her an a role model for those following on.

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