Civic Awards 2009

The Limes Room, Christchurch Town Hall, 17th December 2009.

Although Canterbury is blessed with large tracts of unspoiled land, the ever-increasing pressures of a growing population, a burgeoning tourism industry, and often ill-advised development have made increasing inroads into the natural landscape. For more than fifty years he has worked long and tirelessly to preserve some of that wonderful heritage for future generations. For more than five decades he has been a custodian of Orton Bradley Park, working to enhance the farm and the forestry areas, to restore the historic farm buildings, and to ensure that it remains a public amenity. He served for twenty years as a member of the Park Board, as well as two terms with the Mt Herbert County Council. Every week he still gives time to hands-on tasks, repairing this, restoring that, building something else, all the while inspiring and leading the team of Park Volunteers. More than any other single person he has ensured that the natural beauty and the unique cultural heritage that is enshrined in Orton Bradley Park is preserved for the present and shall so remain long into the future. Richard James Fulton Barnett.

Almost daily we are assailed by news items telling us of young people in trouble through alcohol, or fast cars and there are endless calls for more legislation to control this behaviour. He knows, like all thinking people, that the best form of control is self control, and for twenty two years, as a member of Scouts New Zealand, he has been working with young people to give them the tools to act as responsible members of society. Over this time he has been involved in many events and activities ranging from weekly meetings for young people to camps, tramps and National Jamborees. He is currently Torlesse Zone Venturer Leader, Chair of the Rimu Park Committee, and Torlesse Zone Quartermaster. During his chairmanship Rimu Park has undergone significant development of both its amenities and its grounds. He is a superb role model, inculcating in his charges a love of the outdoors, as well as the leadership, team spirit and practical skills that are the cornerstones of a successful life. Murray David Bradley.

One of the most daunting of life’s problems is that of the stranger in a strange land. Coming from afar to make a new life in a new society, with new customs, new ways, a new language and, hardest of all, no friends, is not only difficult but for many overwhelming. Nearly eight years ago she accepted the challenge to do her part in reaching out to new immigrants, particularly women. Beginning with just three women and borrowed sewing machines she began the New Migrants’ Quilting Group. Over the years this has grown to fifteen, including women from as far afield as Somalia, Iraq, Chile, Fiji and Russia. While performing a creative and artistic task, the women are also making friends, learning the different social skills required of a new society, and becoming more and more proficient in English. She has guided these women along the tortuous path of integration, teaching skills, co-ordinating volunteers, raising funds, and assisting in countless ways to help them to become part of the fabric of Cantabrian society. Kathleen Anne Burford.

Whereas all charitable and benevolent groups are formed and operated by energetic and dedicated people, energy and dedication are not enough of themselves. The bottom line is always a financial one, a fact of which, as a businessman and clothing manufacturer, he is only too aware. Since 1988 he has made regular donations of clothing to welfare agencies such as the Christchurch City Mission, the Salvation Army and the Vincentian Recovery Programme. In 2002 he widened his contribution to include an annual Charity Factory Sale where his products are sold to the public at wholesale prices, half the proceeds so realised being placed with a nominated charity, local, national or overseas. In these more financially constrained times, he has ensured that funds raised are channelled to Canterbury-based charities such as the Canterbury Charity Hospital, the 180 Degree Trust, of which he is also a Trustee, and the Family Help Trust. His generosity has seen hundreds of thousands of dollars given to worthy causes, helping to improve the lives of hundreds of those less fortunate than he. Hugh Alan Douglas.

Few are they who could even come close to matching the extent or the depth of her involvement in community affairs. City Councillor, Deputy Mayor, Environment Canterbury Councillor, Justice of the Peace, office holder on too many trusts and boards to enumerate, she has for decades been a household name in Christchurch. Her love of gardening and her deep commitment to sustainability have been the twin engines driving her commitment to the principle of and concept behind the Garden City image of Christchurch. The Christchurch Garden City Trust, the Festival of Flowers and the Organic Garden City Trust have been but the spearheads of her extensive and longstanding volunteer work to protect and promote that image. Her extraordinary leadership and organisational skills as well as her dedication and capacity for sheer hard work have ensured that the City of Christchurch and the Province of Canterbury are and shall continue to be the pleasant and unique places that they are. Carole Joyce Evans.

Those who immigrate to New Zealand often have little in the way of worldly goods, but they bring with them a wealth of cultural knowledge that can greatly enriches the life of their adopted community. In founding the Russian Cultural Centre Trust in 2000 and in the years since, she has helped immigrants from Russia proper and the many and far-flung territories of the former Soviet Union to integrate into New Zealand society while at the same time holding onto their own cultural heritages. In that time she has worked tirelessly towards her vision of the formation in Christchurch of a Slavonic-speaking community that contributes positively to all aspects of society. Under her leadership the Russian Cultural Centre Trust has initiated many activities that have enriched the lives of both Slavonic-speaking migrants and the existing citizens. Through education and youth activities, health and aging projects, cultural activities and cross-cultural initiatives she has nurtured a process of cultural cross-pollination that will lead to a richer and more vibrant community. Anya Filippochkina.

Few gifts are greater or more universally appreciated than the gift of music. If that is so, then his gift to the people of Canterbury has been great indeed. As musical director of the Woolston Brass Band he has played a pivotal role in maintaining that ensemble’s consistently high quality of musical presentation. Under his stewardship the Band has continued its pre-eminence, having been adjudged New Zealand Champion no less than twenty-two times since 1971, and currently standing as Australian Champion. His extensive experience with orchestras, jazz bands, brass bands and choirs has ensured that the highest of standards have been achieved by all groups coming under his direction. The New Zealand Army Band, of which he was Bandmaster for five years, continues to be New Zealand’s premier military ensemble. His musical talents and leadership skills have brought great prestige to the City of Christchurch and countless hours of listening pleasure to tens of thousands. WO2 Graham Ross Hickman. 

He has always been ready, willing and very capable of performing those often unnoticed but nevertheless essential duties that always have to be done. Whether it be putting out the chairs for the weekly choir practice, mowing the lawns at the Croquet Club, or arranging the mini-speakers for the next meeting of the Probus Club, he can always be relied upon to help. Often the first to arrive and the last to leave he performs his duties with diligence and good humour. For nearly sixty years the Christchurch Liedertafel Choir has benefited both from his excellent singing voice and his administrative skills. President, Librarian, Club Secretary, Almoner, Caretaker, he has done it all. He has been an active and energetic member and office holder of the St. Martins-Opawa Mens’ Probus Club for many years. He has been tireless in his efforts on behalf of the St. Martins Croquet Club, as a player at a high level, as an administrator, and as general handyman and useful person. Audiences, club members, team associates, the number of those who have benefited from his goodwill is too great to calculate. Peter Law.

What words can properly describe her? Dedication. Passion. Drive. Determination. Leadership. Focus. All have been used, all fall short of describing the reality and the high regard of her colleagues and team mates. For more than three and a half decades she has been involved in the sport of Netball in Canterbury at all levels from the littlest beginners to the elite Provincial teams. Administrator, umpire, coach, co-ordinator, fundraiser, there is no area of the sport that has not felt her deft touch. She has been a selector and team manager, and has served as Secretary, Vice President and President of Canterbury Netball, besides serving on too many lesser committees and sub-committees to mention. As Sports Director for the Canterbury Primary Schools Sports Association she provides sporting opportunities for some sixty-six thousand Canterbury children, while as President of the Christchurch Netball Centre, the largest of its kind in the country, she provides the amenities for seven and a half thousand players every week. Canterbury Netball would not be what it is without her. Lynette Ellen Miles.

Life in the Big City can be hard for those who are forced to live alone, cut off from their social networks. As Vicar of Merivale he is more aware than most of the needs of the lonely and the socially isolated. His response to that need was the Merevale Corner, a centre for community based recreation, education and support programmes that has gone from strength to strength under his benevolent oversight. Newcomers to the City, young parents caring for little ones, elderly people who have difficulty getting about as they once could are amongst the many who have received the benefits of the Corner. Singing and music for young and old, walking groups, coffee and conversation times, and English language groups are but a few of the many programmes and activities provided that are open to and accessible by all members of the community. Archdeacon of Christchurch, Canon Emeritus of Christ Church Cathedral, Board Member of St George’s Hospital and of Christ’s College, he is a blessing to both his church and his community. Canon Craufurd Murray.

It is more than half a century since he began his work with the Canterbury Museum and in that time he has become one of the world’s leading authorities on the history of Antarctic exploration. As Emeritus Curator of Antarctic History at the Canterbury Museum, and as the founder and Curator of Collections at the Lyttelton Museum, he has developed the Antarctic collections to a standard that is second to none in the world. His extensive research and many publications, both academic and popular, have ensured that Canterbury is at the forefront of Antarctic studies. His work has meant that Christchurch has become a significant home of the Antarctic community with unique resources that are invaluable to all those with an interest in The Ice, be they scientists or researchers, adventurers or workers, tourists or visitors, or the many school groups that come to study. His dedication and scholarship have ensured that the huge reservoir of knowledge of the Antarctic that resides in Canterbury has been properly collected and collated so as to give inspiration and pleasure to the students of today and for many generations to come. Baden Norris.

For more than a century Christchurch has been renowned throughout Australasia and the Pacific as the Garden City, thanks to the labours of countless tireless enthusiasts. Such pre-eminence, however, is a team effort in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, an achievement made possible by the co-ordination of clubs and organisations by energetic individuals. She has been a co-ordinator and organiser as well as a gifted creator of works of floral art for many years, shouldering much of the responsibility for organising the various horticultural groups who together contribute so much to the beautification of the City. She had given of her extensive horticultural knowledge and skills, along with her outstanding leadership, to the lasting betterment of such organisations as the Canterbury Horticultural Society, of which she is currently President, and the Christchurch Garden City Trust, on which she currently serves as Deputy Chair. Her labours of love over many years have helped to make Christchurch a place of unique beauty, and to bring joy to innumerable Cantabrians and visitors alike. Elizabeth Anne Peacock.

Since its foundation in 1997 it has been a touchstone for members of the disparate societies of Southern Africa who have found their way to New Zealand. It brings together people from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique for mutual support, the sharing of common interests, and motivation to make a worthy and positive contribution to life in Canterbury. It is run entirely by volunteers, and has developed a model of community support that requires very little financial input. It works particularly hard to bridge the many social, cultural, racial and linguistic divides that historically have fractured the societies of Southern Africa and which have long been the source of much bitterness and strife. It represents a model of the virtues of hard work, of independence, of tolerance, and of open-handedness that the wider society aspires to yet all too seldom achieves. It is a beacon of hope that while the divisions of the past cannot, and must not, be forgotten, they may yet be put behind us as we head towards a future of equality and respect for all. South Island New Zealand Association of Southern Africans. [SINZASA]

 

The list of her involvements in community affairs is encyclopaedic. Treasurer of the Keighleys Road Kindergarten, PTA Committee member of Bromley School, Chisnallwood Intermediate and Aranui High School, Member of Avondale Primary School Board of Trustees. She has served as Treasurer of the junior section of Linwood Rugby Club and is a member of the Junior Management Board of the Canterbury Rugby Football Union. For more than twenty years she has been involved with the Christchurch Suburban Cricket Association, presently serving as Secretary-Treasurer and Publicity Officer. She is responsible for co-ordinating the CSCA competition, liaising with the City Council on grounds, and completes the sports draw every week. Somewhere in all this she manages to cater for lunches as well. She has found the time to write senior cricket team articles from the ‘Press’ for twenty-three years, and for the ‘Christchurch Star’ for eighteen, but her many colleagues and friends in the sporting community readily acknowledge that the real Star of the piece is she herself. Heather Diane Steele.

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