Shirley-Papanui 1999.


The numbers of those described as “at risk” young people are large and growing. Dysfunctional families, the increasing complexities of modern society, and the harsh realties of unemployment, poor education and the lack of strong rôle models has created a sub-class of young people who are poorly socialised and lacking in basic life skills. They are resentful, bewildered and frustrated. Coming to Christchurch in 1985, he worked first as a volunteer for Te Hou Ora in the Christchurch North Area, where he ran several very successful outdoor programmes for youth at risk. In 1991 he became Programme Co-ordinator for Te Hou Ora and in 1997 began working full time in a joint appointment with Te Hou Ora and Te Kaupapa Whakaora as a field worker among the youth at risk of the Papanui District. He organises and runs camps and activity programmes for young people and liases with parents and families, with the police, schools, government agencies and community groups. More than simply providing services for his young people, he provides the examples of leadership, direction, self-confidence, and diligence in which the youth at risk stand in such dire need.

Jonathan (Jono) Campbell

To be a stranger in a strange land is never easy. The social structures, the customs, the laws, even the language may be very different to those of the homeland, leading to misunderstandings and stress. All too often things are never what they were expected to be, leading to disillusionment and bitterness. Added to the strain of coping with the new life there is the urgent need to maintain links with the past, with the sights and sounds and flavours of traditional life. Twenty-five volunteers, assisted by two paid workers, the priest and his wife have worked hard for some four years to create an organisation to assist newcomers from the ancient homeland, cushioning the cultural shock, easing them gently into a new and alien environment. They provide volunteer teachers to assist children with school subjects. They provide services for the aged and the cultural milieu of the old home. They provide children’s activities and social events for adults. Above all they work co-operatively to provide the social and emotional support that new New Zealanders so urgently need in their new home.

The Community Workers of the Coptic Orthodox Church

All too often older people see young people wandering aimlessly, they read of youngsters becoming involved in petty crime, in drug abuse, and antisocial behaviour. They see graffiti defacing walls, and surly young people idle. All too often the comment is “They should do something about it”, but the “They” is always someone else, or some vague authority like “The Council” or “The Government”. It is a rare and valuable person who says “I shall do something about it”. Having started as an 18-year-old worker for the YMCA in Christchurch, and as a volunteer worker for Youth for Christ he began his career of caring early. He worked as programme co-ordinator for young people at Te Hou Ora for six years while attending Christchurch Teachers’ College from 1993 – 96. He began his work at Te Kaupapa Whakaora in 1997 as Teacher-in Charge, and is a volunteer leader at the Papanui Te Hou Ora for 7 – 8 year olds. His support, guidance and sheer hard work have helped to turn around the lives of many young at-risk people.

Greg Jansen

She has been a resident of the Shirley district for all of her eighty years, during which time she has served her community as a volunteer through involvement in a very wide spectrum of organisations and duties. A long-standing member of the Country Women’s Guild, she has served on several occasions both as Secretary and as Treasurer. A member of Grey Power, she has worked as a volunteer in the office of the Community Constable at Eastgate and Shirley. Every week she gives her time to the Christchurch City Mission, and to the Labour Office where she not only performs routine duties but also organises fund-raising activities such as garage sales and newspaper collections. She is a tour group organiser and Treasurer for the W.E.A. A Justice of the Peace since 1973, she has assiduously discharged the many and often onerous duties of that ancient office in the service of the people of Shirley, as well as performing Court Duties. Somewhere in this welter of activity she also found the time to become a foundation member of the Shirley Residents’ Group of which she has been Secretary and is currently Treasurer.

Annie May (Nancy) Meadowcraft

Love, once engendered, has a way of pervading all areas of life, extending outwards easily and naturally to include other things. His greatest love is his garden, and during his fourteen years as Parish Priest at St. Joseph’s Church he has often been mistaken for the gardener. There was no garden when he arrived, and he has worked long and hard, altering the parish house, building a temporary parish centre, redesigning and laying out the gardens, and most recently opening the new permanent Parish Centre this year. The garden around the Presbytery is now truly magnificent and admired by many hundreds. It is often used for wedding photographs, and all are welcome to view it. A caring and supportive man of many talents, he ministers both to his parishioners and to the wider community, and his love of gardening extends deep into his ministry: when visiting parishioners, it is not uncommon for him to get his pruners out of the boot of the car and attend to a neglected rose bush. Surely, when, in the fullness of time, the Lord calls him. Father John shall be put in charge of the Gardens of Heaven.

The Reverend Father John Noonan

Since his ordination in 1960 he has served several South Island parishes, including Spreydon – Hoon Hay, Addington, St. Albans and since 1992 as Vicar of St. Paul’s in Papanui. A man of acknowledged theological scholarship, he is “an accessible parson” who has recognised that the Vicar is not only the spiritual head of his parish flock but also a significant member of the community as a whole. The Church must above all things be flexible, and theological interpretation must change to suit changing times. His recognition of this need and his wide view of life is shown in his deep commitment to the wider community in such matters as his sympathetic yet scripture based approach to the remarriage of divorcees, and on such occasions as his memorial service for the fifty-one cats who died in the cattery fire at Kaiapoi. His warm and sensitive support for the bereaved and his sympathetic assistance and practical advice during family crises have been deeply appreciated by too many to name, and his care is given to any in need whether members of the Church or not. He is there for everyone.

The Reverend David Pickering

In an age when the public funding of social services is diminishing and the demands of communities for social services are increasing, community groups have to think more and more laterally. The Church, in particular, has had to rethink its position and its commitment to the wider community and to expand far beyond the spiritual and pastoral areas that have traditionally been its purview. This particular church has taken up that challenge with a wide range of activities: the 407 Club, opening at 4:07 p.m. every Friday, is attended by 50 children in the 7 – 13 age range, and Mainly Music is a Thursday morning programme for pre-schoolers. Over forty families are members of the Food Co-op, the Youth Group caters to young people with outings, camps and “life-skill” sessions, and there are Alpha courses for adults and families wanting to earn “life skills” as well as those searching for the answers to the deeper and more difficult questions of the meaning of life. A new Neighbourhood Trust has been formally incorporated to extend the community activities. This organisation is vibrant proof of the adage that when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Saint Albans Baptist Church

Every area has its own special problems. Situated in the heart of one of the lowest socio-economic areas in Christchurch, this group has an even more urgent need than most to care for the underprivileged members of its community. The needs to be addressed are the very basic ones: free dinners are served to those who need them every second Friday. They operate an after school programme, offering a safe and supervised environment for children who might otherwise be at risk of becoming embroiled in juvenile crime and substance abuse. Aid agencies and community groups abound, but all too often those who stand most in need of such groups are unaware of their existence, let alone where to find them. To remedy this problem, this group has compiled a community directory of all such services available within the area, an invaluable document indeed. They run an extensive outreach programme for those in need, especially the elderly and the infirm and have recently appointed a community development worker that their care and ministry shall be all the more effective and efficient.

Saint Stephen’s Church

Time had taken its toll on the buildings and surrounding grounds of the Forfar Nursery and Pre-school. It had come under threat of closure due to the deterioration of its structure and facilities, having fallen below the National Health Standards. The closure of the Nursery would have been a tragic loss to the Community for such establishments fulfil two vital needs: they provide an essential early social and cultural education for little children without which entry into the formal schooling system would be difficult indeed, and they provide both a social focus for mothers as well as the opportunity for a respite of an hour or two in the long and arduous process of parenting. It fell largely to one person to come to the rescue. A vivacious and enthusiastic woman, she voluntarily took on the daunting challenge of seeking finances for the Nursery, spending countless hours filling out funding applications, lobbying community groups and even laying the lawn herself. Virtually single-handed, she has assured the future of the Forfar Nursery and Pre-school.

Ingrid Stonhill

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