Civic Awards 2010

Christchurch Civic Awards,


Prepared and presented by Stephen Symons, City of Christchurch Town Crier. Limes Room, Christchurch Town Hall, 8th December 2010. The Awards presented by His Worship the Mayor of Christchurch, Bob Parker.

Brown, Arthur J. With more than four decades of experience in polar research and development, the last two as representative of the National Science Foundation to Christchurch, few are more deeply schooled in the logistics and management of operations at both ends of the globe than he. For the past twenty years he has been the liaison between the NSF and New Zealand’s Antarctic Programme, finding and developing ways in which the two organizations can work together for their mutual betterment and the advancement of knowledge for all. His work has brought business opportunities, cultural exchange, scientific knowledge, and social enhancement to both New Zealand and the United States. While his achievements have been invaluable to the Governments and authorities of both countries, his greatest contribution has been to provide an environment in which firm and lasting friendships have been made, cementing in those very cordial personal relationships that have grown and flourished since the beginning of the United States presence in Christchurch in the International Geophysical Year of 1956. Representing the NSF each Antarctic season since 1990, administrator, technician, politician, businessman, social worker, he is truly a man for all seasons.

Camp Quality Christchurch. For twenty-five years it has been supporting children living with cancer, providing a week-long summer camp packed with activities, fun and friendship. All this is provided absolutely free of charge, and over the years more than five hundred children have had the benefit of the camp. But it is not just the children who benefit. The adult companions, many of them young people in their late teens and early twenties, as well as caring for the children, are also learning to work in teams, to foster leadership skills, to build sound relationships. The parents and families of the campers benefit from a much needed break from the stresses of caring for a sick child, giving them time to spend on themselves or to share with other siblings who often feel overlooked and who also need care and attention. Like ripples in a pool of water spreading out from a stone cast in the centre, waves of caring emanate from the camp, washing over the campers, the companions, the staff and the families of the campers, which in turn brings happiness and heart’s ease to all those with whom they may come into contact.

Carter, Mike. A very special type of person is needed to run a special-needs children’s camp such as Camp Quality. The camp itself is but the culmination of a year of preparation. Before the camp can proceed he must first plan the training programme and the activities, and ensure that all safety measures have been put in place. He must assess the suitability of the adult companions of, and match them with a camper. He must at all times be in communication with all involved, families, companions, sponsors; answering questions, addressing concerns, making arrangements. Afterwards, when the camp is done, he must then evaluate how well the goals of the camp have been achieved, and how improvements might be made for the next one. All this must be done while at the same time working at a regular job and being part of a home and family of his own. He has been involved with Camp Quality since its beginnings twenty five years ago and is currently both committee secretary and camp manager, a very special person doing a very special job in a very special place.

Clark, Barry John. By the late 1980s, the Papanui RSA, then a sub-branch of the main Christchurch RSA, was languishing with few facilities and a dwindling membership. A man with a wealth of practical building skills as well as administrative abilities and dedication to the principles of the RSA was called for, and indeed such a man was forthcoming. Under his guidence new premises were acquired and membership began to grow. By 1993 the sub-branch was a branch in its own right, growing from strength to strength, until today it boasts 1200 members. He continued to serve the branch and the larger organization, becoming Vice-President in 1994 and President in 1998, a position he holds to this day, as well as serving as Vice-President on the national body since 2008. He was the driving force behind the restoration of the grave of Charles Upham VC and bar, and was deeply involved in the preparation of the Henry Nicholls VC memorial. He is a valued fundraiser for the Rannerdale Veterans’ Home, and is RSA representative to the Christchurch Nurses’ Chapel. A tireless worker, a dedicated member, and a much-loved friend, he has been the very breath of life to the Papanui RSA.

Creasey, William Patrick. In unity there is strength, and it is this precept that he has worked to instil into Christchurch communities for close to two decades, first in his capacity as a Crime Prevention Officer of the New Zealand Police Force and latterly as Co-ordinator for Neighbourhood Support Canterbury. During his time as Co-ordinator the number of established neighbourhood groups in Christchurch has grown to more than 2,000, each involving ten households, but under his stewardship the ambit of these groups now encompasses far more than simple crime prevention. Working with Neighbourhood Support as well as with such groups and agencies as the Safer Christchurch Committee, the Welfare Committee of Civil Defence and Victim Support he has helped to forge a wider sense of community care that extends from crime prevention to pandemic to civil emergencies of all sorts. In so doing he has helped to create a core group that has a much greater awareness of the needs of the wider community, and of how they can become involved in decisions that affect not only themselves but the whole of Christchurch, surely ensuring that our City is a safer City.

Duggan, Patrick John. It is now almost a century since the first landing of New Zealand troops on the Gallipoli Peninsula on 25th April 1915. That has become the most important date in our national calendar, commemorating as it does not only the hundreds who died that day but by extension all New Zealanders before and since who have given their lives for their country. More than that, it has become a marker for the birth of New Zealand’s national consciousness as a nation with its own identity and its own destiny. Every year for more than fifteen years he has had the duty of Parade Marshal, bringing together past and present members of the armed forces, of service and youth organizations, and of the general public to observe and participate in the commemoration of valour. Under his guidence the Dawn Parade has attracted increasing attendance, especially of the young, not just a ceremony for old soldiers, but a rite of affirmation for all New Zealanders.

Hetariki, Patricia and Pani Ruwhiu. They work together out of Te Puawaitanga ki Otautahi Trust, a group that evolved out of the Otautahi Maori Women’s Welfare League. Together they work, Kaiwhakapuawai, giving of their knowledge and their mana in support of families who are in need. With their wide knowledge of social conditions and their broad networks of contacts they can link families with specialist organizations and agencies; food banks, Pregnancy Support, Otautahi Maori Women’s Refuge, Housing New Zealand and many others. Their involvement extends far beyond office hours, many weekends and evenings being spent working voluntarily for the Maori community in some capacity, focussing especially on families with children and young people. More and more their work has extended beyond the Maori community to include migrants and refugees. They have made a significant and positive difference in the health, the well-being, the very lives of many in Canterbury.

Independent Fisheries Ltd. It has been the sponsor of the International Youth with Disability Exchange Programme since its inception in 2005, providing the bulk of the annual funding. The Programme provides for a bi-annual exchange between Christchurch in New Zealand and Kurashiki in Japan for young people living with some physical disability, who are thus able to travel with a care-giver to experience life in a distant and very different culture in a way that they might never otherwise be able to do. As sponsor it not only provides funding, but is actively involved in the planning of each exchange, and the organization of activities and hosting. This generosity provides a further strengthening of the important Sister City link between Christchurch and Kurashiki, ensuring that Christchurch is perceived as a welcoming destination not only for the wealthy and well-provided, but for all members of our Sister City regardless of their situations. For the young people themselves it is both the experience of a lifetime, and a powerful motivator towards the realization that there need not be a limit to what they might achieve in life.

Kerr, Gwen Ethel. Her background in home economics is as practical as could possibly be. As a child on a remote Southland farm, grocery shopping was a twice yearly trip by train to Invercargill while all else came from the farm. Training as a Home Economics teacher in Dunedin expanded and formalised her knowledge. Years of teaching at Van Asch School for the deaf honed her skills of innovation and her sense of humour. For the last seven years she has been involved with the Wainoni-Avonside Community Services Trust. Every fortnight without fail she gave demonstrations of cooking to all who needed instruction, but her particular focus has been on the elderly who have recently lost a spouse, on widows suddenly living alone after years of cooking for two or more, and widowers whose culinary skills may reach to toast and a pot of tea but little more. With patience, care and good humour, she has shared freely of her vast larder of practical knowledge of culinary lore. More than this, she has taught the lesson that life goes on, that the death of a life-time partner need not be the end of life, and that cooking can be a lot of fun.

Reese, Andrew Nevitt. Serving as an Administrator and Official for three and a half decades, he has been involved in track and field events in Canterbury and further afield at all levels. He is a familiar and welcome face at Athletics Canterbury, the Christchurch Anglican Harrier Club, Sport Canterbury, the Canterbury Cross Country Committee, the Canterbury Masters Athletics Association and many more. He has served on too many committees and sub-committees to mention, and is very active in the organization and administration of athletic sports in both primary and secondary schools in Canterbury. Committee member, equipment officer, timekeeper, he is a true all-rounder, ready to serve in any capacity wherever his many skills might be needed both on and off the field. His work has helped to ensure that major events at QE2 Athletic Stadium and other venues have been run at a very high degree of excellence, providing the best possible experience for both athletes and supporters.

Rutherford, Allen J. For many people, and particularly the elderly, modern technology is mysterious and impenetrable. Some ten years ago he recognized that such people needed special and specialized help to which end he founded SeniorNet Mac, a club for Mac computer users over the age of sixty. Within three months it had become an incorporated society, and had a room at Old Girls’ High fitted out with workstations and computers, and staffed by tutors. Over the months and years that followed he poured countless hours into SeniorNet Mac, organizing tutors, refining existing courses, creating new courses, and expanding the range of technologies taught to include topics such as iPhoto, Skype, TradeMe and others. Unobtrusive but totally dedicated, he has been an invaluable member of the Family History Society of New Zealand, maintaining the computers and helping to obtain a grant to purchase new computer and software systems. A true visionary, he has opened up the treasure chest of modern technology to many of the City’s older people who might otherwise have become isolated. Thanks to him they can now travel in cyberspace, surfing the internet, socialising on Facebook, or chatting on Skype with ease and confidence.

Sheppard, Lorraine Merle. For most, involvement in the Scouting movement is a few evenings at the Den and the occasional camp. For her it has been a weekly, often a daily, commitment for more than thirty-five years. Assistant Cub Leader, Cub Leader, Group Leader, and currently Leader of the Torlesse Zone, she is one of those who work both in front of and, equally importantly, behind the scenes. She attends or runs meetings, interviews and trains new leaders, supports and mentors existing leaders, visits youth sections, and assists with the opening of new sections. She attends camps and meetings and training sessions, as well as the triennial Jamborees. She has acted as National Director of Catering at the Jamboree, preparing the menus, forming and co-ordinating the teams of helpers, and procuring and distributing the vast amounts of food needed to keep 4,500 hungry teenagers fed for nine days. It is the universal motto of the Scouting Movement to Be Prepared, and she is the one who has prepared two generations of  Scouts to be prepared. She is in herself the very model of the virtues of duty, diligence and dedication that are the cornerstones of the Scouting Movement.

Skjellerup, Ralph and Joy. Having run a small market in Riccarton for some years, they were approached by the Rotary Club to join forces to create something a little different on vacant land beside the Racecourse. That something became the Riccarton Market, the South Island’s largest flea market. Working in all weathers, they put in countless hours building the market up into the iconic institution that it is today. More than just a market, it is a magnet for tourists and visitors, a bargain-hunter’s paradise, and a venue par excellence for those who simply want to see and be seen. Food and drink, pots and pans, arts and crafts, plants and garden accessories, clothes and remedies, all and much more may be found there. Thanks to their hard work and remarkable vision, the Market has generated some one and a half million dollars which has been distributed via Rotary to a long list of beneficiaries including St John’s Ambulance, Wharenui Primary School, the Rannerdale Foundation, the Christchurch Women’s Refuges and many, many more. Their work has created the funding, and their legacy shall be the continuation of that funding into the foreseeable future.

Topp Cecil D. He has been involved in rugby since he began playing in 1936. Retiring from play in 1951 he joined the Canterbury Rugby Referees’ Association, becoming President of the Association in 1976. He served for twenty four years as an active referee, achieving club division one status, then sixteen years as an appointments officer responsible for allocating referees to matches, and the remainder as an officer of the Association, touch judging, or as substitute controller. Nearly sixty years on, he still turns out every Saturday as substitute controller for Canterbury Division One games. Generations of Cantabrian children have received the benefit of his commitment to and enthusiasm for the sport, giving them a weekly focus, keeping them fit and healthy, and inspiring them to achieve their very best. If ever Canterbury Rugby was to seek a patron saint, his name would be at the top of the list.

Young, Kaye. She was a founder member of the group that would become the Canterbury Down Syndrome Association, and over the ten years since has spent countless hours working for and building up the organization to the most excellent institution that it is today. She has been Treasurer, regional contact and parent advocate. She organized socials and promoted the ideals of the Association. Thanks in large part to her dedication and hard work, parents of Down Syndrome children now have a wide and supportive network of helpers who know and understand DS, people to whom they can turn to for help, advice and resources. Thanks to her, children born with Down Syndrome have a community within which they can be children and teenagers, doing what children and teenagers normally do, but in a safe environment where they might otherwise have been socially isolated. Under her guidence the CDSA has grown beyond a support group to include the wider society, providing educational seminars and resource packs to parents and educators, raising awareness of Down Syndrome.

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