Civic Awards 2007

Limes Room, Christchurch Town Hall, 17th March 2008.

Over several generations now, the City of Christchurch has been known world-wide as the Garden City, a title won with difficulty and held only through the dedicated labours of people such as these. It would be impossible to calculate the number of hours that they have given gladly and freely to the Christchurch Beautifying Association and the Papanui Beautifying Association. Members of the Papanui Association since 1980 and of the Christchurch Association since 1987, both have held administrative posts in the organisations for many years. He had served as President of both organisations and as Treasurer for the Christchurch Association, she as Secretary-Treasurer of the Papanui Association. Both have been involved with the Street and Garden Awards for many years. They are judges of the Community Pride Gardens awards in Burwood, and regularly help with the gardens in the Bishopdale Shopping Centre. He is also Canterbury Registrar of the Justices of the Peace Association, and has for many years been involved with local Civil Defence. Peter and Janice Berry.

There are many organisations that bring care and support to those who suffer from mental illness, but it is often easy to forget that the sufferers themselves are not the only victims. In households where an adult is struck by mental illness, there are often others who are subject to collateral injury. These silent sufferers are the children of such families. Nothing is explained to them, often they receive no help to deal with the effects of a parent’s illness, they struggle to understand why Mum or Dad is acting erratically. All too often they feel guilty as if they were in some way responsible. Such feelings, left unaddressed, can lead to profound problems, even mental illness, later in the child’s life. This organisation endeavours to provide programmes for such children, programmes that foster an increased sense of self worth, teamwork, and honest sharing and that provide an environment where having fun is a high priority. They protect that most basic right of children, which is the right, when children, to be children. Caroline Reid Charitable Foundation.

For half a century or more she has quietly but tirelessly worked for the people of her community, and the projects and groups with which she has been involved are now too numerous to fully catalogue. She has been involved with the Plunket Society and the Plunket Mothers’ Club Committee, and with the Freeville School Committee. She has long worked as a Convener of the World Day of Prayer, and has been a committee member for at least forty years. She has been actively involved in the life of St Andrew’s Anglican Church in North New Brighton, where she is a Deacon. As such she regularly takes Holy Communion to housebound parishioners, and to the Kate Shepherd Home. She is Padre to the North New Brighton RSA, and has been active in the Association of Anglican Women for many years. She has been an active member of the Country Women’s Institute and the Good Companions. She reads to children at school, and is a funeral celebrant, providing a helping hand at both ends of the journey through life.  Betty Lillian Amy Cox.

Those innocent days when the people of Christchurch could leave their back doors unlocked all day are long past, and the thin blue line is often stretched to its limits. Community Watch Hornby with its sister organisations throughout the region is one of the most effective means of safeguarding communities, and he has done more perhaps than any other single individual to make it so. He has been an active member of Community Watch Hornby since its inception in 1995, and is also a respected member of Community Watches of Canterbury. He has been the force behind many of the changes that this organisation has gone through, each step making it a stronger, healthier body. A particular achievement has been the development of the radio system of the Hornby Watch into a network including six of the seven City-based Watches, providing safety backup for patrols and co-ordination for major incidents. Above all else a bridge-builder, a smoother of troubled waters, and a co-ordinator, his efforts have helped to create a safer community for all, both in Hornby and in the wider community of Christchurch. Stephen de la Cour.

She is, and has long been, a highly valued and active member of the St Albans Uniting Parish Council, and she is a  Steward whose task is to represent the local congregation. She presides over several committees, and has been instrumental in organising food hampers for needy families at Christmas. She represents the Parish at the Canterbury District Methodist Synod and the Methodist Women’s Fellowship, holding executive positions on both bodies. She is also an active member of the National Council of Women, and has represented the Parish at various conferences. She served as Vice-President, President and committee member of the Home and Family Society for many years, working as an organiser and as a fund-raiser, offering affordable social services, counselling, and emergency accommodation to low income families. Whether providing leadership, governance, pastoral care or food hampers, she has boundless energy, much of which is spent on helping all sorts of people in many unobtrusive ways. Jennifer Agnes Delaney.

In a society where traditional family cohesion is constantly eroding, where more and more young people are finding themselves alone, often without the most basic of life skills, the Scouting movement forms a lifeline. He has been part of the Matai Scout District of Christchurch for over three decades, and was a Scout Leader in Southland for many years before that. As a Leader and later as Assistant Commissioner then as District Commissioner he has managed Scout groups, organised Jamborees and assisted with the administration of a large and complex organisation. He has given generously of his administrative and financial skills to the St Albans Uniting Parish as Church and later Parish Treasurer, and acted as volunteer accountant to the Home and Family Society. He has been the Canterbury Playcentre Association’s equipment organiser and has acted as Treasurer to the Belfast Probus Club. He has given generously of his time and skills to many organisations over the years, but his greatest gifts have been those of self-confidence and independence to generations of young Cantabrians through the Scouting movement. William Charles Delaney.

It may truly be said that to preserve the past is to preserve the future. A society that cannot see where it has come from cannot truly see where it is going, and he has done more than most to preserve the heritage of Christchurch and to promote an understanding of its history. A founding member of the Canterbury branch committee of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, he has served the Trust in various capacities for over half a century, and he has represented the Trust and the Canterbury Historical Association at a national level. An Historian and former Reader in History at the University of Canterbury, he was the chief organiser of the Junior Historical Association, and was the initiator and chief organiser of the Sherrard Award for local history. He has long been active in researching and popularising the history of Papanui, and helped to establish the invaluable Archives of the Christchurch Anglican Diocese. His work has helped all Cantabrians to become more clearly aware of their unique identity. William James Gardner.

She has played a critical role in the development and organisation of the sport of Softball for nearly three decades, at both regional and national level, since joining the Canterbury Softball Association in 1979. She first joined the Association as a member of the Junior Advisory Board, later becoming both President of that body and a member of the senior executive of the Association. She was appointed Manager of the New Zealand Under 19 Women’s Team from 1989 to 1992, culminating in attendance at the 1992 World Championships. Quite apart from this, she has worked as a volunteer at the Riccarton Community Constable’s office for a number of years. She is also President and a long-time member of the Retirees Social Club, amongst other things organising one bus trip a month and one overseas trip per year, a most complex task indeed. She is one of the most respected and well-loved individuals within the softball community and one of the very special people of the world.  Jean Gould.

PILLARS is a Christchurch-based charity that provides support services to the children and families of serving prisoners. He has served the Society in a voluntary capacity as a member of the Board of Governors for ten years, officiating as President for the last nine. In that role he has led the organisation from a small, not-for-profit group to a professionally recognised organisation with a clear vision and mission. He recently led the organisation into its expansion into Auckland, so successful a move that similar expansions are now being planned for Hamilton, Gisborne, Wellington and Dunedin. He has tirelessly served the Board and supported the Chief Executive on a weekly basis, providing wisdom, counsel and invaluable professional legal advice. He has run a very ‘tight ship’ ensuring that the Board has kept to its governance roles, without straying into operational areas. This very capable man, with his modest manner and quiet wit, is well liked and held in the highest esteem by staff and Board members alike. Gilbert Anthony Hay.

Two things, it is said, bring relief from the woes of the world; cats and music. Cats they do not provide, but music they have in abundance, and they share their vast store of it without stint. Rest Homes, Probus Groups, Senior Citizens groups of all sorts have received their gift of song over the years. Some sixteen singers and two pianists, men and women, they are all in their sixties or older, and together they give around one hundred and twenty shows every year. Each performance provides about an hour of music and comedy, but the total time expended is enormously more than that. For every hour spent in the glow of the footlights another three or four must be spent in travelling and preparation. Costumes have to be made, new programmes planned, and bookings and administrative details have to be attended to. But all that is given freely as they range from Kaiapoi to Timaru, from Rangiora to the West Coast, spreading the magic of music. The Hi-Flyers Entertainment.

The list of the number of organisations and groups that have received the benefit of his boundless energy is encyclopaedic in character. Working mainly in the Redwood-Belfast-Styx area, organisations as diverse as the Redwood School Hall Committee, the Styx History Group, the New Zealand Branch of the Institution of the Rubber Industry and the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand have all profited from his magic touch. He is a founder member and long-time committee member of the Guardians of the Styx Inc. and serves on the Redwood Residents’ Association. He has long been deeply involved with local government activities, preparing and presenting detailed submissions on such matters as better community facilities, community plantings, and various deficiencies in by-laws. He helped to set up the Redwood Community Centre Association in 1979, which gave birth to the Redwood Liberal Studies Course, which continues today as Redwood Study Group. His contribution of time and effort, to great too calculate, represents an outstanding gift of service to the community. Dennis Ashley Hills.

A song is more than just a pleasant sound. It is a key to memories of the past, sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet, but always evocative of those people and places that give meaning to our lives. For more than half a century they have been singing their songs, bringing pleasure to their audiences, evoking memories, bringing smiles to eyes and perhaps the occasional tear. Their harmonies have been heard across the length and breadth of Greater Christchurch, in resthomes and in hospitals, by community groups and by clubs, and for many their concerts were an eagerly awaited annual event. For many of the members it has been a life’s work, but over the years time has taken its toll. From a high of twenty-four members, there are now no more than fifteen. With the recent death of their long-serving pianist, it was decided to close the song-book. Yet although the book is closed, the songs shall continue on as long as there is memory. Hillsborough-Heathcote Women’s Institute Choir.

Rather than catalogue what she has done for Lyttelton, it might be easier to list what she has not done. She is the Chair and a very active member of Project Port Lyttelton, and is fully focused on developing sustainable communities. She edits, writes copy for and organises the distribution of the Lyttelton News. She was a leading force behind the Community Angel Programme, and the very successful Lyttelton Farmers’ Market. She developed the Lyttelton Community Garden to a new level, and established the Lyttelton Time Bank. She organised the Community Van Project, helping the elderly get into Christchurch once a week for shopping and appointments. She is involved in the Waste Minimisation Project, and the Warm Wall Project, helping to reduce waste and conserve energy through new technologies. She arranged the Bliss Browne Day – Imagine Lyttelton Harbour gathering, and has been deeply involved in numerous other events such as the annual Summer Street Party. In modelling her life on community sustainability, she is herself a model for her community. Margaret Jefferies.

She was a founder member of the Friends of the Botanic Gardens, incorporated as a society in 1989, and the work of the Friends has been her passion ever since. Until her retirement from active management in 2006, she held the positions of both Secretary and Treasurer almost continuously, with only a brief interregnum. Deeply learned in the lore of plants, she has developed many themed walks to encourage general interest in the gardens, and provided a spur for teams of volunteers raising plants for seasonal sales to the public. She oversaw the onerous task of organising the annual programme of Society meetings, and until last year produced the Society’s Quarterly newsletter. She has given lectures at garden clubs, assisted at the Information Centre, helped with advertising brochures, and has been a tireless fundraiser. In short there is virtually no area of the Society’s endeavours that has not had the benefit of her energy, her time and her wisdom. If the Friends themselves were to look for a Friend of their own, they need look no further than her. Adrianne Muriel Moore.

One of the greatest scourges of community life is that of fire. It can strike anywhere, at any time. It destroys homes and property, crops and lives. It can appear with devastating speed and destroy a lifetime’s work in moments. We accept the service of a Fire Brigade without thinking for it is part of our lives, but it was not always so. One hundred years ago the worthy councillors of New Brighton Borough realised the need for a publicly co-ordinated approach to emergencies, and called for volunteers to form a dedicated fire fighting organisation, thus forming the New Brighton Volunteer Fire Brigade. They have been busy ever since, attending not only to fires but also other emergencies such as vehicle accidents and chemical spills. They attend between five and six hundred calls per year, in New Brighton and also, if required, in the wider Christchurch area. They are all volunteers who daily and as a matter of course willingly put themselves at risk of serious injury or even death for the sake of others. We quite literally owe them our lives. New Brighton Volunteer Fire Brigade.

Beginning in 1992 with one Community Worker and one volunteer Project Manager, it was initially established as a joint effort of the Burwood/Pegasus Branch of Keep Christchurch Beautiful and the local Community Board. Its objective was to raise awareness of environmental issues, while at the same time helping jobseekers to improve their employment prospects. It was an immediate success, so much so that the following year it was incorporated as a charitable trust. Its environmental and community activities within the Burwood/Pegasus area continue, for the last three years predominantly specialising in assisting people with psychological and social difficulties, until today there are up to thirty participating individuals and seven permanent staff. They carry out maintenance work on community facilities, and handyman work for needy individuals and charities. In creating and maintaining a cleaner and more pleasant environment, they also provide motivation and skills to empower their participants to live happier and more fulfilling lives. Project Employment Environmental Enhancement Programme. PEEEP Trust.

It was through his vision and tireless efforts that the Jazz School was established at Christchurch Polytechnic. Through his energy and leadership it grew from humble beginnings in a semi-derelict building, to the modern, purpose-built premises that it now occupies. A musician and linguist, he was a founding member of the University of Canterbury Folk Club, and has served on the executives of the New Zealand Association of Language Teachers, the Alliance Française and the University of Canterbury French Club. He was one of the prime movers behind the youth group at Christ the King Church in Burnside, and for twelve years put his energies into that weekly event. He wrote the lyrics and score for Sweet William, a rock opera based on the life of William Shakespeare. Whether teaching jazz or French, he has enriched the lives of thousands of Cantabrians young and old, but all agree that he taught more than music or language. He also teaches humility, perseverance, respect and friendship. Edward Neill Pickard.

All too often it is only the superbly fit, physically perfect athletes of the national representative teams that receive the adulation of the people and the major sponsorships. They are looked up to as role models for the community. Equally admirable and deserving, yet all too often overlooked, are those who suffer from physical limitations. Equally dedicated, equally determined, the players of Canterbury Wheelchair Rugby could not pursue their dreams without her and those other able-bodied volunteers who give of their time and expertise to this cause. As secretary of Canterbury Wheelchair Rugby, as an internationally certified referee, as a professional occupational therapist, or simply as a pair of helping hands, she is always ready to assist in all sorts of ways large and small. While her labours have in great part been directed towards Wheelchair Rugby, her example is much more pervasive. She can show all physically disabled that despite the problems that they face there is still the chance of a happy, fulfilling life, and that they, too, are role models to look up to. Cherie Dawn Porter.

Take a sound academic background and extensive business experience in the development, licensing and marketing of agricultural products. Add an involvement in local gymnastics competitions in various roles from floor manager to computer technician to judge. Stir in an ability to construct and support a strongly focussed team. The result is the man who was ideally suited to act as President of the Christchurch University Gymnastics Club, and to steer the School of Gymnastics Building Committee along its seven year journey from initial analysis to grand opening. Attending scores of meetings, poring over submissions and concept plans, negotiating leases, co-ordinating contracts and funding negotiations, he was tireless in his pursuit of a vision. That vision has blossomed into the reality of a world-class facility that is the joy of hundreds of club members and the more than thirty thousand school children of Canterbury who annually participate in gymnastics. Adrian Russell.

The pipe organ is the most complex musical instrument ever devised by human hands. Even to describe it simply as a musical instrument is a diminution of its grandeur, and those who sit at the consoles of these magnificent engines of sound are more than just musicians. In a certain mystical sense he and the Christchurch Town Hall Pipe Organ are one, for their relationship is much more than that of player and instrument. A more appropriate metaphor might be that of Father and Child. He was a member of the Christchurch Civic Music Council for twenty-five years, and also served on the fund-raising committee for the organ. He visited the maker’s factory in Austria, was a key planner for the opening ceremonies, and has been curator and star performer ever since. He founded and is a trustee of the Friends of the Town Hall Organ. Together he and the organ have become world famous celebrities, with recordings of their music sold worldwide and played on national radio networks in Australia, the United States, and in Great Britain. He has put organ music in Christchurch onto the world map, and has brought pleasure to countless concert-goers. Martin Setchell.

Comcare Charitable Trust is a body whose purpose is to provide quality community services to those who have experienced mental illness so as to assist their recovery. He has served as a trustee of Comcare since 1998, and as Chairman since 2006. He is also a member of the Cracroft Probus and currently serves as their Vice-President. He recently formed a neighbourhood Support Group at Milns Road in Halswell, and he is an active member of Community Watch Christchurch South. He is an inaugural member of the Older Persons Core Group, and a member of the Strengthening Community Action Plans group of the Spreydon/Heathcote Community Board. He was for thirty-five years an active participant in the life and affairs of St Nicholas Church, acting as Vestryman, Vicar’s Warden, Chairman of the Vestry and inaugural Chairman of the St Nicholas Youth Trust. His reward for these many years of dedicated service has been the knowledge that his labours have produced positive outcomes. Douglas Gardiner Shepherd.

The erosion of faith creates deep and dangerous potholes in the road of life through an ever more secular world. The Inter-Church Trade and Industry Mission reaches out to the community to fill these spiritual gaps in people’s lives. For thirty years and more, through chaplaincy and in the administration of the Mission, he has reached out to the ordinary working people of Canterbury, bringing meaning to the lives of those in despair. Quite apart from this he has been a valued and active member of the Cashmere Residents’ Association for some years, and for nearly a quarter of a century has been deeply involved with the Harlequin Players as Treasurer, Production Manager, actor and organiser of everything. Whatever he undertakes, be it his many years with the Methodist Central Mission’s Lifeline counselling service, his membership of the Diamond Harbour Burgess’ Association or the Merivale Uniting Church, he is a quiet achiever who takes on tasks and sees them through to the end. Neil Ernest Smith.

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