Civic Awards 2005

Limes Room Christchurch Town Hall.

For over a hundred years the City of Christchurch has enjoyed an international reputation as The Garden City, a title earned by the countless hours put in by loving hands over the generations. Over the years this group has made a special effort to maintain that tradition along with the beds of roses that are their especial care. As the season comes around members of the group arrive at Mona Vale and some twenty beds are carefully pruned, weeded, cultivated and fertilized so that the plants are assured of vigorous and healthy growth. Later the plants are dead-headed to ensure optimum growth and maximum aesthetics. Rose pruning demonstrations are held regularly to educate the public in the care of roses, and these are very popular. Thanks to the continuing care and attention of the group, the rose gardens of Mona Vale are a popular attraction with groups of visitors from Japan, Great Britain and North America in particular, and individuals from all around the world. Their efforts help both to maintain the Mona Vale gardens to an international standard of excellence, and to spread the word about the beauty of the Garden City of New Zealand throughout the world. The Canterbury Rose Society.

Cystic Fibrosis is a life-threatening illness that primarily affects the lungs and pancreas, leading to severe chest infections and difficulty in digesting food. Some relief is found in the ministrations of a physiotherapist, and in the use of expensive equipment such as nebulisers, oxygen units and PEP systems. Such relief is expensive. For four years this little team has been organising the Christchurch Casino Golf Masters Tournament, an annual two-day event modelled on the prestigious Augusta Masters. Players breakfast in the Harewood Golf Club, have oysters and champagne on the course, and attend the magnificent Prize Giving Dinner in the Christchurch Casino. The tournament is organised down to the last detail by the team, whose labours are provided entirely voluntarily, and it has become a premier event in the golfing world, attracting many players from outside the region and raising awareness nationally and internationally of Christchurch’s cultural and sporting excellence. It also raises valuable funds for cystic fibrosis. Over the past four years approximately $220,000 has been raised for the Canterbury Branch of the Cystic Fibrosis Association, funds that have been used to substantially ease the suffering of many. Fore J Productions.


If the Philosophers’ Stone is the magical device that turns base metal into gold, this group could well be called the Philosophers of Halswell Stone. Thanks in very great part to their efforts a large and unsightly hole in the ground has been transformed as if by magic into one of Christchurch’s premier leisure and beauty spots. Beginning in 1993 they have expended many hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars into turning the Halswell Quarry into the Halswell Quarry Park. They repaired the old single men’s quarters, re-roofing them, repairing or replacing all the guttering, the windows and the wiring, and installing a security system. They have supplied and planted trees; up to 2001, they had planted some 12,600 trees all over the park. They installed power connections to, and made tables for, the picnic area. They built the stone entrance to the Lions Picnic Area, and provided the two bronze lions to go with it. Their generous gifts of time and money have helped the council to provide a first class park. Their public spiritedness has given the people of Christchurch a gift that shall give pleasure for many generations to come. Halswell and District Lions Club Inc.

All too often, through the media and through direct experience, we see and hear of the problems of children in dysfunctional homes, and many agencies direct their energies towards helping children and young people. But parents also have problems, a situation that perhaps attracts less attention. This organisation recognised this in 1983 and ever since then has provided a telephone counselling service to parents and other caregivers. Members of the organisation are available 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily, seven days a week, providing a sympathetic ear and practical advice for parents who are often at their wits’ end. All twenty volunteer staff are themselves parents or caregivers and know well the problems and pitfalls of which they hear, and they come from  different age-groups, backgrounds and ethnicities, just like those who call them. Sadly the numbers of those calling is noticeably increasing and they now deal with about eighteen hundred calls a year, but the volunteers are there to help. With their sympathy, their advice, and their willingness simply to listen when no one else does, they have given relief and a new start to many hundreds of Cantabrians. Parentline (Christchurch) Incorporated.

Every expatriate community must walk a social tight-rope, balancing the need to integrate into the wider community whilst at the same time retaining its own unique identity. This no easy task at the best of times, and becomes more and more difficult in a global political climate of widespread distrust and unease. This little group of dedicated volunteers has been making that balancing act much easier for the last twelve years, combining modern technology with the traditional outlook of the Samoan people. Every week they prepare a radio programme, which is presented on Friday on PlainsFM and features interviews, Samoan music and Samoan news, forming a vital link in a chain of communications that connects the Samoan communities of Auckland, Melbourne, Brisbane and Christchurch. They run radio-athons and raffles to raise funds for the Samoan community. They have developed excellent interviewing and production skills so that their programme is easily as good, and in many ways better, than programmes made by professional broadcasters on other stations. Together they ensure that Samoans do not forget Samoa. Samoa E Le Galo Charitable Trust.

The Society was formed in 1977 and two years later the museum was opened . For nearly three decades now they have kept the memory of the past alive, guiding those who would delve into it and teaching those who are unaware of it. As the repository of the records of the old Sumner Borough Council as well as many other records and artifacts they have in their care an invaluable and unique resource that they share with all who desire to clarify the past. School children, students, local Maori, those researching family trees and authors researching local histories are but a few of the beneficiaries of this treasure house of lore. The Christchurch City Council, the Auckland City Library, The Hobson Wharf Project, Auckland Institute of Technology, the Van Asch Deaf Education Centre and the Canterbury Public Library are a few of the institutions that have sought and received the Society’s help. Knowledge of the past is valuable for itself, but it is even more important in that it enables us in the present to understand how we arrived here, and only by knowing that are we able to see where we are going. In illuminating the past they provide a beacon for the future. The Sumner Museum.

Many people give of their time and energy to support some worthy cause or another. Others, the very rare few, spread their goodwill across a whole range of organisations. He has been a member of the Boys’ Brigade for seventy years, holding all ranks from Private to Captain, and has held the position of Honorary Vice-President since 1979. He was a member of the Order of St John from 1946 to 1949, then again from 1974 to date, serving in several key capacities. He was active in Civil Defence for many years, and has been a member of the RNZAF Association since 1945, holding several positions on the Christchurch Branch Executive. He has been an active member of the Cadet League – now the Air Training Corps – and of the Christchurch Branch of the RSA, serving in executive positions in both organisations. The Canterbury Railway Society and the Ferrymead Park Historical Tramway Society have also benefited from his seemingly endless well of energy. His unfaltering support and loyalty , his selflessness and sense of values is a model for all others to aspire to. Donald Lindsay Aitken.

For the past twenty-seven years she has been deeply involved in the Guiding Movement in Christchurch, as Guide Leader, Brownie Leader, Pippin Leader and currently District Co-ordinator in Redwood. During this time she has been involved in both the front-line activity of leading girls’ units, and in the more behind-the-scenes administrative areas without which the work of an organisation such as Guiding New Zealand would be impossible. Her position as a teacher of children with special needs has armed her with the specialised skills needed to plan, prepare and conduct camps and events for girls who need that extra bit of attention. She has been directly involved in two integrated National Guide Camps for girls with and without disabilities and from guiding and non-guiding backgrounds. She continually supports her leaders, encouraging them to undertake personal development training so that they become even better leaders, and stronger individuals. Leading from the front, her dedication, determination and commitment to her girls and her leaders are an inspiration to all. Laurene Bailey.

He established Echo Radio in March of 1988 and it has been on-air, uninterrupted, for seventeen years, providing a weekly programme in Dutch for the substantial local Dutch community. Starting initially with the equipment and facilities at Plains FM, he has gradually, at his own expense and through fundraising, built a studio at his home for the sole purpose of producing Echo Radio. With his team of from three to five other volunteers he now produces a highly professional news and information service of such high quality that, apart from one programme for younger people in Hamilton, Echo Radio is now the sole Dutch Community Radio on nine of the eleven community stations in New Zealand. Large numbers of Dutch nationals emigrated to New Zealand, particularly in the 1940s and 50s, and that generation is now aging. It is well known that, although thoroughly integrated into New Zealand society, many elderly Dutch begin to forget the foreign English language and to revert more and more to their native tongue in an increasingly unfamiliar culture. A programme in their own language, reflecting their own culture, is a most welcome comfort and reassurance. Theo Boekel

He founded the Sunday Soccer League in 1974, arranging for playing grounds, rules, and club and player registration, beginning with eight teams. Thirty-one years later the League now has five divisions, each catering for up to ten teams who are primarily drawn from  or sponsored by business houses in the Waimairi area to the mutual benefit of all concerned. While on a trip to Europe he visited Venice and was much taken by the illumination of the canals. This experience inspired him to formulate a plan to illuminate Christchurch’s Avon River in a similar way on its course through the central City. Working with the City Council this project was commenced in 2001 to be completed by 2010, not only beautifying one of the City’s most striking natural features but also helping to create a safer environment at night. He has served as a volunteer on the Christchurch – Kurashiki Sister Committee since 1988, during which time he has organised and led several exchanges to Japan and has served three terms as Deputy Chairman. Whether promoting the City’s interests overseas, or enhancing the beauty of the City at home, or organising sporting activities, he is a true Cantabrian all-rounder. David Bolam-Smith.

Thirty years ago a young wife and mother had an accident at home as a result of which she suffered spinal injuries that left her permanently disabled. Many would see that as the end of life, but to her it was a new beginning. She attended Canterbury University where she gained several degrees and later lectured in sociology, but while her academic experience broadened her views, her everyday experience galvanized her. For three decades she has been a tireless fighter against institutional resistance to the provision of access for the disabled. She has been, and still is, an active member of many groups such as the Disabled Persons’ Assembly, the Council of Social Services and the Human Rights Forum. She has tirelessly lobbied politicians and authorities, and regularly speaks on her experiences. She has never asked for sympathy, or charity, or pity. She is still the same person inside as she was on the day before she damaged her spinal cord, so she does not seek special treatment, simply understanding, equality, and the right to live as normal a life as possible. More than most she has made her voice heard in Canterbury and all Cantabrians, able-bodied and disabled, are better people for hearing her. Olive J Brown.

One of the worst scourges of old age is loneliness. It is a silent, invisible epidemic that is nevertheless as painful as a festering wound, as debilitating as a broken limb. It leads to despair, even suicide. She knows this and her work with the elderly of Christchurch has been like a ray of sunshine in the darkness. Every month she organizes the telephone tree for the Grey Power social. She organizes the social, and arranges the transport and the entertainment, liaising with the resident organist. Few people are better than she at getting people singing and clapping. She organizes trips and outings which are eagerly awaited and thoroughly enjoyed by all. She serves on several committees including the monthly Grey Power Committee, and the monthly Age Care Forum at Princess Margaret Hospital. She attends Elder Care Meetings, and the Presbyterian Transit Care meetings. She lobbies politicians for help with the elderly, and once a fortnight she attends the office of the Burwood Community Constable as a volunteer. She brings fun, laughter and the all-too-often forgotten pleasure of anticipation into the lives of hundreds. Tui Brown

He was one of the small but dedicated group who, in the late 1960s, founded a Clinical School of Medicine in Christchurch to relieve the pressure on the then overcrowded classes at Dunedin Hospital. Over the years his group oversaw its development and the often difficult negotiations with the parent body. His interest in medical memorabilia had long been known when, in the early 1980’s, he was asked to form the Items of Historic Interest Committee, which was essentially himself collecting items of interest from anywhere and everywhere. His foresight saw the rescue of thousands of volumes from the library of the Christchurch School of Medicine, irreplaceable items that would otherwise have gone to the dump, as well as a vast array of medical, dental and nursing items. The result is a huge collection of artifacts and an archive of books, photographs, and manuscripts that is unique in New Zealand. It charts and preserves the history and development of medicine and the medical profession in Canterbury from the earliest days to the present. The Cotter Medical History Trust is an outstanding historical resource and it is a testament to the vision, enthusiasm and energy of one man: Dr. Patrick William Cotter.

More than thirty years ago a young couple went looking for adventure and found it in India. The experience lit a fire that has endured over the decades and is known as Trade Aid, an organisation dedicated to fair trade and the breaking of the poverty cycle in which so much of the world languishes. A solicitor by profession, his skills are given freely not only to Trade Aid but also to other organisations. A meeting in 1977 of people involved in the long-term care of family members suffering from schizophrenia let to the creation of the Schizophrenia Fellowship, for which he drafted a constitution and to whom he served as legal adviser for many years. His good offices were enlisted by the Anglican Church, and he has been an invaluable member of the Church Property Trustees for twenty-two years. In this capacity he has drafted new legislation governing Church Property Trustees, and at the same time serves as the Diocesan Chancellor, attending synods and fulfilling various traditional functions. He is truly an elder of the global village, caring not only for those immediately around him but for those around the world. Richard Cottrell.

As one who suffers from cerebral palsy few are better equipped to advocate on behalf of the disabled, and she has given much of her life to supporting those who suffer from disabilities of one sort or another. She has at all times showed leadership and dedication, serving on a number of organisations and bodies concerned with the care of the disabled. Her working life has seen her employed in a number of positions, all within the area of disability care and management; as a consumer advisor with Lifelinks, secretary of DPA Christchurch and Districts, Director of the Southern Regional Health Authority, and many others. As a volunteer she has been involved with the newly-formed Christchurch City Council’s Disability Reference Group, with the Meridian Energy Consumer Advisory Panel, as a trustee of the Christchurch Community House Trust, and with bodies such as the Christchurch Human Rights Network, the Christchurch Council of Social Services, the Disabled Persons Assembly, the Community Awareness Teachers Association and many more. She is living proof that a disability need not be a barrier to a full, active and fulfilling life. Allison Daphne Franklin.

The Crichton Cobbers Youth Club has been their second home for decades and between them they are the face of amateur club wrestling in Christchurch. He has been involved with amateur wrestling in Christchurch for fifty years, wrestling for over twenty years representing Crichton Cobbers. In 1970 he began coaching and in 1992 gained Fila judge grading, which has seen him spending many weekends refereeing at tournaments local and national. He has worked hard to obtain funding for equipment, clothing and travel costs, so that those on limited incomes can participate fully in the sport. She takes care of the bookings and the van hire, the accommodation and the travel. She contacts the media, and prepares the food and drink. When the team is away, she ensures that everyone is well fed and gets a good night’s sleep. Together their have served on the wrestling committee for many years and in many capacities. Other wrestling clubs have come and gone over the last fifty years but none have survived like Crichton Cobbers, thanks to the countless hours they have given. They do not count the cost, and their reward is the admiration and respect of hundreds of young Christchurch people. Zoë and Bryce Hadcroft.

They are a team in every meaning of the word. She joined Sumner Lifeboat Institution (Inc.) as a Probationary Crewmember in 1987 and her energy and enthusiasm saw her later become Crew Training Officer, Crew Secretary, Deputy Coxswain, Bo’sun and Skipper. She has been instrumental in developing training programmes for Sumner Lifeboat. He joined Sumner Lifeboat in 1990 as Engineer and also became Head Launcher. Over the years he has shown outstanding engineering and design skills, particularly in respect of their recently acquired boat Hamilton Jet Rescue. This boat has been described as setting a new standard in rescue craft, due in no small way to the many hours that he spent on the project. The other aspect of their community service has been to the Guiding Movement. She began her guiding career in 1982, serving as Guider, Ranger Leader, Commissioner and District Treasurer amongst other roles. He, too, has a been involved with Guiding, particularly in camping and outdoor activities  and providing security while camping out. Both forward and innovative thinkers, they have helped to shape the direction that Sumner Lifeboat takes today, and are both valuable and highly valued members of the Guiding family. Kathleen Mary Kerr and Alan John Kerr.

She has been a valued volunteer at the Glenelg Children’s Health Camp since 1995. The children referred to the camp are typically some of the most disruptive and hyperactive, usually with emotional problems and poor social and basic life skills, and yet she has always been able to handle them with warmth and genuine affection. The children eagerly await her  regular leatherwork classes, and the pride with which they display the results of their handicraft is a joy to see. She has never been more than a telephone call away when help is needed for bottling fruit, or fundraising, or Fête Days, or selling Health Stamps. She has for many years been a member of the Beckenham Branch of the Catholic Women’s League, and has served on the committee in various offices since 1987. She arranges coach tours for the elderly members, and is involved with the administration that services the Mission Station in the Pacific Islands. For a number of years she assisted at the St John of God Hospital, serving food and entertaining patients. As a long time member of the St Martins-Opawa Garden Club, she has actively helped to maintain Christchurch’s image as the garden City. Janet Mary Low.

It is truly said that music is an international language, transcending words and creating harmonies to which all voices may add to the depth and richness of the song. She has given freely of her talents as a musician and as a teacher of music to help newcomers to New Zealand to better integrate into the local community She takes new migrants, children and adults, into her own home where she teaches keyboard skills and language skills. She teaches those life skills that are so necessary in New Zealand life and are performed by New Zealanders without thinking, but which may be unfamiliar to those from other cultures. Simple things like brushing teeth and the handling of knives and forks have to be taught. She has introduced new migrants to local parks and the amenities of the City, and has spent considerable sums of her own money on school fees for girls who could not have afforded them themselves, giving them an excellent and otherwise unattainable start in life. She spends countless hours creating new lesson material and helping children with their homework. She has been a tireless worker for her community all her life, and her gift has been the one that is perhaps the most difficult of all to give: happiness. Joyce Millar.

She is best known for her long battle to save the historic Englefield Lodge, but the catalogue of her service to her community is long and varied. As a teacher at Burnside High School for nineteen years, she instilled a knowledge of classical studies into hundreds of young Cantabrians, raising their awareness of their wider and very ancient cultural heritage. She served on the Board of Trustees of the High School for four years and spent several years as chairperson of the Gilby Residents’ Association. She is a Board Member of the Crichton Cobbers Youth and Community Club. In 1995 she set up the non-profit Leisure Learning Centre for adults interested archaeology and history, and writes scripts for television documentaries on local history. She is an active campaigner for the protection of historic sites and helped to establish a committee to gain official recognition of the Englefield Enclave. She continues her research into the Avonside Drive – Kilmore Street – Fitzgerald Avenue intersection, with its associated historic sites such as Wards’ Brewery and the Rowing Clubs, and its historic personalities such as “Cabbage” Wilson and William Guise Brittan. She has made a most remarkable and enriching contribution to her community. Frances Lenore Ryman.

He has been a member of the Christchurch Grey Power Committee for twelve years and Secretary for eleven, and he has served as President of the national body since 2003. He spends at least one week a month in Wellington meeting senior Parliamentarians and Civil Servants, constantly lobbying for better access for the elderly to health care with particular emphasis on such contentious matters as waiting lists and asset testing, and on issues such as driving tests for older drivers, funding for care givers and for Nursing Staff in rest homes. He attends meetings of the Age Care Forum, Elder Care and Age Concern. He is in constant touch with the Disability and Older Persons Community and Recreation Unit of the City Council and spends three hours once a fortnight serving as a volunteer at the Fendalton Community Police Office. His work on behalf of his community occupies him for seven days a week. Many hundreds of people across the entire community, but particularly those in nursing homes and retirement villages, those needing hospital care and older drivers, owe him a very great debt of thanks. Graham Donal Stairmand.

Her voluntary work and community involvement have spanned nearly six decades in both Dunedin and Christchurch. As a schoolgirl in the 1940s she began ten years of involvement in the Girls’ Brigade. Moving to Dunedin, as a young mother she gave much time to school committees and sports clubs, serving as a committee member and secretary. She later worked as a volunteer for Meals on Wheels. Returning to Christchurch in the 1990s, rather than slowing down she became even more active. She joined the Harewood Ladies’ Probus Club, serving as a committee member for some years and as President in 2000. She continued her work with Meals on Wheels for some years and joined the Avon Floral Art Society, for whom her many years of experience as a Florist was an invaluable resource. She has served as both Secretary and President of the Redwood Beautifying Association and Garden Club. She performed voluntary work for the Archer Home for some years and is currently working for the Ronald Macdonald House. She is always available, working many hours and providing leadership and resources in so many ways to keep Christchurch beautiful and to help the sick and the elderly. Edith Lyndal Utteridge.

She early saw the need for a support group for migrant and resident Japanese families. In 1993 she established a playgroup to assist new parents with raising a family in a very different society. The playgroup is still running and currently caters for more than seventy children. In 1998 she founded the Canterbury Japanese Supplementary School, a charitable organisation teaching the Japanese language and culture. Looking to the other end of the age spectrum she founded the Go-Go Club in 1997 to help older Japanese adjust to life in New Zealand. She joined the Japanese Society of Canterbury in 1992 and is currently its chairperson. She has given invaluable assistance to events such as the Festival of Japan, the Christchurch Santa Parade, the Tsunami Concert, the Hiroshima Event Day, Intercultural Assembly and Culture Galore. She gives freely of her time even when sleeping; she jokingly says that she dreams of activities and gets up in the middle of the night to work on them.  Her work over the years has given invaluable support and pleasure to immigrant Japanese seeking to integrate into New Zealand society, and has made a huge contribution to Christchurch’s cultural diversity. Noriko Wright.

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