Civic Awards 2008

Limes Room, Christchurch Town Hall, 25th November 2008.

Few events can be more emotionally devastating than the death of a child, yet this is a situation that, as Family Support Co-ordinator for the Child Cancer Foundation, she is frequently called upon to confront. Like so many people in similar roles she became involved through personal experience when, some fifteen years ago, her own daughter was diagnosed with cancer. She has to deal with people from all walks of life, and from all levels of society, with families who may not speak English, or have a parent in prison, or may not trust medical staff. Despite the obstacles, she is able to listen to their concerns, to quietly demolish barriers, to gently build up trust, arranging for the needs of the children and their families. Using her connections within the sporting and business communities she arranges events for children suffering from cancer, and is an invaluable fund-raiser. As cancer knows no timetable she is able to be there for the children and their families when they need it regardless of the time of day or night, providing what is needed to those who need it most. Cynthia Annear.

In a certain sense he is the Papanui Toc H Athletic Club. For over thirty years he has dedicated his energies to the effective running of the club, the organization of its events and the coaching of its members. Treasurer, technical whizz, Club handicapper, magazine editor, time keeper, chief course and track layer, registration and results co-ordinator, chief photo-finisher for children’s athletics, there is nothing that he cannot or will not do for the club. He puts in more than twenty hours a week of voluntary service for fifty-two weeks of the year on behalf of the two hundred and fifty athletes of the club, much of the work being the time consuming, behind-the-scenes tasks without which no organisation can operate. His skills and technical expertise benefit not only the club but also the wider community through his involvement with Athletics Canterbury. A competitive athlete all his life, he may not be as fast as he once was, but his presence looms ever larger over athletics in Canterbury. Craig McCallum Brown.

New Zealand is a nation of newcomers, some who come to live, some who come for a limited time, but all newcomers need help in coming to grips with New Zealand’s unique culture, often very different to that of the Newcomers’ homelands. For more than twenty years she has given lavishly of her time and energy to helping Newcomers through her work with the University of Canterbury Newcomers’ Group that welcomes the families of new or visiting staff, through her involvement with international ice hockey, and through her contacts with language students coming to the ESOL Conversation Class which she co-founded. Thanks to her, many hundreds of people throughout the world have gone back to their homes with fond memories of New Zealanders as welcoming and friendly folk, and hundreds more have settled into their new home all the more easily and comfortably. For more than two decades she has been an unstinting worker for the community projects in which she has become involved, and an outstanding ambassador for Christchurch and New Zealand. Gillian Adora Fahey.

He has been associated with the sport of Table Tennis for almost sixty years, for twenty-seven of which he was actively involved in the sport at club level in Canterbury. Not only was he involved in administration and the running of day to day events, but he also helped to organise and facilitate special events such as visits from top overseas representative players from as far afield as Sweden, Great Britain and China. He held more executive positions than anyone else in club history, at both local and national levels, and was elected a life member in 1974. A prolific and fluent writer, he was a regular correspondent to local newspapers for many years, helping to raise awareness of the sport and to popularise it throughout the South Island. A fierce competitor in his own right, he has been as zealous a supporter of Table Tennis in the community as a player at the table. The sport as a whole owes him a debt of gratitude that can never be fully expressed. Reeford George Hart.

What began as a group of like-minded women meeting in someone’s sitting room in 1985 has, under the impetus of her drive and energy, become an internationally recognised, world-class barbershop chorus with a membership of over one hundred and fifty. A co-founder of the Christchurch City Chorus in 1985, she became the Musical Director in 1988 and continues in that position to this day. Under her direction the Chorus has grown from a local glee club to a major artistic force, representing Christchurch and New Zealand on the international stage at international competitions in New Orleans, San Antonio and Calgary, Canada. In 2007 the Chorus was invited to perform in New York’s Carnegie Hall, placing them on a par with such luminaries as Benny Goodman, Harry Belafonte and Maria Callas. Thanks to her vision and energy, the Chorus has become more than simply a performance group. It is crucible within which lives are changed, where members discover talents and confidence within themselves where perhaps they never thought to find them, and where their music can blossom to the joy of all Cantabrians. Virginia Humphrey-Taylor.

The full count of her community involvements over the past forty years would be encyclopaedic in range and breadth. The types of community groups that have received the benefit of her energies is as diverse as the people affected, but always her priorities have been with children and the elderly. Age Concern, the Hornby Residents’ Association, the Paparua Maori Charitable Trust, Kiwanis, the Christchurch District Health Board Winter Warmth Project, Citizens’ Advice, the Hornby Licensing Trust, the Riccarton Tea-House Restoration Committee are but a few examples. Christchurch’s arts, heritage, education, beautification, social services, sports and leisure, all have felt the sure touch of her hand. As City Councillor, Deputy Mayor and Community Board member she has left her mark on the City. As a volunteer worker across the full spectrum of community needs she has left her mark on the hearts of the people of Christchurch. Lesley Keast.

For over twenty years he has been a tireless worker for the Spreydon Baptist Church, serving as Church Manager, Community Ministries Pastor, and as a Trustee on sixteen different social service trusts and organisations. The Kingdom Resources Trust, which gives budget advice to those in financial difficulty, the New Harvest Trust Drop-in Centre which offers an accepting environment for those wishing to become involved in community activities, the Cobham Village Trust, and Project Esther which seeks to serve women and their families, particularly those at risk, are but a few instances of the many caring organisations that have grown and prospered under his dedicated care. Camps for young people, care for pre-schoolers, English language tuition, life skills, bus trips for the elderly, providing resources for artists, all are matters for his urgent attention. Trustee extraordinaire, tireless labourer behind the scenes, leadership mentor, advocate for the poor and disadvantaged, he is truly Mr. Network. Donald Graeme Kempt.

The office of Justice of the Peace is an ancient one, and a cornerstone of our judicial system. For more than forty years he has held this important post in society, unpaid, unsung, yet essential to the smooth running of the community. He has undertaken the often personally inconvenient ministerial duties such as witnessing documents, certifying copies and issuing search warrents most diligently, and the even more onerous judicial duties with equal assiduousness. Going far beyond these responsibilities, he has served on the Canterbury Justices of the Peace Association as an executive member, Vice-President and President, as well as on the Judicial Court Panel and the Court Bail Bond Panel. Cub master, school committee chairman, marriage and funeral celebrant, rugby referee, volunteer driver for Meals on Wheels, he has in so many ways given a lifetime of voluntary service to his community. Tireless in his varied duties as a Justice of the Peace, willing helper to all who have needed help, he is one who is always prepared to go the extra mile to assist others. John Millar Lang.

Once upon a time most New Zealanders’ knowledge of herbs and their uses was confined to a pinch of something dried from a small cardboard box. Thanks in large part to her three decades of dedicated work the citizens of Canterbury at least are now far more aware of the growing of herbs and their many uses about the home. Working within the Canterbury Herb Society she has organised classes on the use of herbs with such success that many participants have started growing herbs commercially, leading to a burgeoning horticultural industry, and classes have expanded out of Christchurch to Rangiora, Cheviot and Kaikoura. Her knowledge of herbs is matched only by her skills as an administrator which have seen her serve not only as a very able secretary to the Herb Society for twenty-eight years, but also as president, secretary and treasurer to the South Christchurch Tecorians, as secretary to the Lansdowne Combined Probus  Club, secretary to the Port Hills Committee, and as President of the WEA Field Club. All who know her recognise her talents, her commitment, and her willingness to give of herself. Rona Irene McNeill.

If music is indeed the voice of the heart, then her voice has been resonating across the City of Christchurch and beyond for three decades. To make music is to speak to the hearts of all who hear, but the making of music is not simple, and the nurturing of others to make music for themselves is more demanding still. It requires endless practice and constant rehearsal, a commitment that only the most dedicated are prepared to make, and of her dedication to the making of music there can be no doubt. As a Fellow of Trinity College with qualifications from the Royal Schools of Music, her credentials are impeccable, and thirty years of work with choral societies, as well as students of instrumental music, singing and ballet, have wafted her music across the whole of Canterbury. The Harmony Singers, the South Brighton Choral Society, the Christchurch Liedertafel Choir, as well as hundreds of students, have all had their music transformed by her professionalism and her talents, enabling them to pass the gift of music along to countless others. Jean Louisa Rutherford.

For more than twenty years she has been involved in the care and support of those suffering from renal disorders through her association with the Christchurch Kidney Society. Her contribution to all areas of the Society has been incalculable, but her dedication over her thirteen years to date in the important office of Treasurer has been of particular significance. Always she has maintained tight control over the limited resources of the Society, ensuring that its primary function of patient support could continue. She has worked tirelessly on fund-raising projects, the most spectacular of which was the purchase by the society of a campervan equipped with a special mobile dialysis unit to enable kidney patients to take holidays away from their bases. Although an outstanding achievement, this success is only one of many that she has worked towards for the Society and its members, one of the many invaluable, if all too often unseen, services that she has given to the renal patients of Christchurch over many years. June Shaw.

Fear and mistrust are the children of ignorance. His wisdom has for decades been a beacon of understanding by the light of which fear and mistrust of others has been dispelled. The number of organisations and groups that have benefited from his deep knowledge of China includes the New Zealand China Friendship Society, the Christchurch Gansu Friendly Relations Committee, the New Zealand Chinese Language Association, the University Chaplaincy Committee, the Canterbury Chinese Scholars and Students Association and more, too many to mention. He regularly speaks to groups such as Probus, WEA and the University of the Third Age, and has led educational tours of China for thirty years. He is an invaluable advisor and mentor to visiting scholars, City Councillors, farmers, business groups and indeed anyone who might have dealings with China. His contribution to the good relationship that the City enjoys with China has been enormous, a reflection of the efforts and understanding that he, as a willing volunteer, has nurtured over the years. William Edward Willmott.

One of the very few disadvantages of New Zealand is that it is a very long way away from everywhere. Simply to attract the notice of the outside world is a major achievement of itself, and this he did with consummate skill, but in so doing he achieved much, much more. As General Manager for Bowls Events New Zealand he was the driving force behind World Bowls 2008, an outstandingly successful competition involving bowlers from seventeen countries using facilities at the Burnside and Fendalton Bowling Clubs. The end result of five years of detailed planning, which also included the organisation of several world singles tournaments and an Asia-Pacific Championship, World Bowls 2008 focussed the attention of the bowling world upon the City of Christchurch, and provided an economic boost that is calculated in the millions of dollars. Thanks to his efforts, the world now knows that Christchurch has the best bowling greens anywhere, the best weather for bowling, and is capable of the best organisation of a bowling event in the world. Kenneth Robert Wilson-Pyne.

More than just than a centre of commerce and administration, a City is first and foremost a place that has meaning for people. It is a place where they create their individual and collective lives, where they create the things that give meaning to life such as the arts and the shared enjoyment of the arts. For the better part of two decades she has worked to bring that enjoyment to the people of Christchurch in a focussed way through the promotion of festivals of the various arts. The World Buskers’ Festival, and the International Jazz and Blues Festivals both of which she has nurtured from their inception, are recognised as world leaders in their genres. The Sidewalk Art Project, the Festival of Romance, and the Books and Beyond Programme all owed their success to her vision, her energy, her professionalism. The arts in Christchurch, be they music, physical theatre, literature, the graphic arts, or performance arts of all kinds, are the richer for her work, while the pleasure that she has brought to thousands of its citizens is inestimable.  Jodi Ann Wright.

Since moving to New Zealand in 1992 she has devoted countless hours and energy to developing and enhancing relationships between New Zealand and Korea in general and between Christchurch and Songpa-Gu in particular. She has been deeply involved in the work of the Christchurch Songpa-Gu Sister City Committee since its inception in 1996, currently serving as Deputy Chairperson. She has been of invaluable assistance to the International Programmes at the University of Canterbury, establishing reciprocal arrangements for teacher and student exchanges, and is responsible for setting up several sister school relationships. She has been extremely generous with her time and skills to the New Zealand Korea Veterans Association, helping with travel and administrative arrangements, and has been deeply involved in arrangements for the sister-city garden at Halswell. With her understanding of both cultures and languages, together with her enthusiasm to seek and promote new fields of contact, she has become a vital link between Christchurch and Korea. Mary Yoon.

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