Volunteer Award Citations 2012

Volunteer Recognition Awards 2012.

St. Marks Presbyterian Church, Withells Road, Avonhead, Christchurch. 

Monday 17th June 2012.


Ahmed Tani is the Chairperson of the Canterbury Refugee Council.  After the Sept 4th quake he organised a team which visited 350 refugee families in their homes, making sure they were safe, and helping to establish good relationships between the refugees and their neighbours. After the February earthquake Ahmed spearheaded the visiting of over 500 families in their homes.  He organised supplies and his team distributed essential items. He also organised teams to work and clean liquefaction from neighbourhoods. Ahmed advocated for refugees with government departments such as Housing New Zealand, and Work and Income and participated in across-government and NGO interagency meetings. Ahmed Tani of the Canterbury Refugee Council

Familial Trust supports people affected by a loved one’s addiction. In September 2009 Amber Johnson helped to develop a Children’s Group for five to thirteen year olds who have a parent with an addiction. Since the group began, Amber has volunteered every week for two hours during school terms and attended training sessions in the school holidays.  She is a group leader for the 11 to 13 year olds. To have the same person volunteer for over three years and continue to do so has proven invaluable for the children in the group.  Amber shows huge amounts of love, and compassion, and is a well loved leader. Amber Johnson of the Familial Trust.

Anne Franks has been a member of the Hearing Association for 38 years.  She’s been a sub-branch Treasurer and served on the Christchurch Branch Committee. Anne organised and ran social occasions for the Rangiora Sub-Branch and liaised with tutors who ran Sign Language and Communication Classes. Anne’s volunteer work included staffing the Hearing Association office in Christchurch when office personnel were unavailable.  She’s assisted with the Hearing Association’s newsletter, helped out at Hearing Awareness Days and Hearing Weeks, assisted at the 2007 Conference held locally, served afternoon teas and cleaned up after events.  Lastly she’s encouraged paid staff with her smile and chocolate frogs. Anne Franks of Hearing Association Christchurch Incorporated [Anne is not able to be with us today and her Award will be accepted by Association President Ivan Taylor.]

Apinchalit Clark is Secretary to the board of the charitable Thai Buddhist Trust of Christchurch.  This work is time-consuming and energy-sapping.  For thirteen years she has excelled as a member of the organising committee for various Thai cultural events held at Wat Buddha Samakhee, the Thai Buddhist Temple.    She works tirelessly to help bridge the cultural gap between Thai culture and New Zealand culture. She is the driving force behind efforts to encourage the public to attend and experience Thai cultural events held at Wat Buddha Samakhee.  Her promotional work has resulted in an increasing number of the public attending those events. Apinchalit Clark of the Wat Buddha Samakhee (the Thai Buddhist Temple)

Betty Chapman has always been there for east Christchurch’s elderly residents.  She’s a tireless worker who has organised many functions and get-togethers and helped people with transport.  Since the earthquakes Betty has been an advocate for elderly residents who’ve been red-zoned, making sure they have the necessary information about the zoning and their properties. No job has been too big or too much for Betty.  She has given unstintingly of her knowledge and time over many years, and fully deserves to have her commitment to the east Christchurch community publicly recognised. Betty Chapman of the Wainoni-Avonside Community Service Trust 

Chanbora Ke is a talented young man who despite paid work and family commitments, still finds time to promote the Cambodian Culture in Christchurch.  He organises the Cambodian Cultural Dancing group, which has performed in Auckland and Christchurch, purchasing costumes for the group at his own expense, and assisting with the performances.  Bora has considerable standing in his ethnic community, and as a member of the Canterbury committee, he has brought fresh enthusiasm into the life of local Cambodians.  Bora devotes time and energy to organising events and activities, promoting the Khmer culture and strengthening the profile of the Cambodian community in Canterbury and throughout New Zealand. Chanbora Ke of the Canterbury Cambodian (Khmer) Association.

Elsie Sanders is an amazing, generous lady.  She single-handedly cares for the 1.2 hectares of garden area of the Holy Trinity Church, Avonside. Elsie keeps the graveyard, church yard, driveways, and surrounding area trimmed, weeded, planted and tidy. Since the deconstruction and demolition of the church building due to the earthquakes, Elsie’s task has been particularly hard. Water restrictions this year made summer gardening a challenge, but her trusty wheelbarrow and several watering cans came to the rescue.  Elsie also maintains the gardens at the retirement complex next door where she is a resident, and has done so for over ten years. Elsie Sanders of Holy Trinity Avonside.

This team of volunteers is a wonderful group of very dedicated workers.  They arrive on time each week and are great at communicating if they are unable to come at any time. They participate fully with the learners in the class sessions and give generously and willingly.  The team has a wonderful range of skills and experience which they contribute to the learners individually and in class sessions.  They are flexible and compassionate, showing understanding of the learners’ needs, and relating well to them. They are invaluable to the Hagley Adult Literacy Centre, and very much appreciated by both staff and learners. The First Steps to Literacy Volunteers of Hagley Adult Literacy Centre and the Award will be accepted by Dianne Shirley and Katrina White.

Arthritis New Zealand runs six weekly hydro therapy classes, one at Christchurch Hospital and the others at Burwood.  Volunteers contact class members, gather information, maintain safety, and lead classes.  They commit to a certain number of hours each week, and attend training in first aid, exercise, and emergency evacuation procedures. Over the past eighteen months, despite major personal issues, and facility closures, these volunteers have continued to run the classes whenever possible, and all classes are now running regularly and smoothly. Without the input of these volunteers the hydro classes could not exist.  The Hydrotherapy Volunteers of Arthritis New Zealand Southern Region and the Award will be received by Elaine Alexander and Yvonne Gray-Rix.

Leo Frost has volunteered at St John of God Halswell for the past five years, working with residents who have neurological and physical disabilities.  His role is to be a companion, taking residents out for walks, reading to them, and accompanying them on outings.  He will also sit and talk with residents, giving them much needed company.  This is a difficult role as the residents have minimal verbal expression.  Leo gives generously of his time and compassion. In his daily work with the residents he exemplifies the values of the service of St John of God: hospitality, compassion, respect, excellence, and justice.  Leo Frost of St John of God Halswell.

Annette Chapman and Carole Tonge have hung up their walking shoes after seventeen and twelve years respectively as walking tour guides.  This involved taking tourists on a two-hour walk through the city, and staffing the information kiosk regularly, but both also volunteered in additional roles. Annette accompanied every potential guide in a ‘test’ walk, inspiring them to try and reach her own high standards of professionalism and encyclopaedic knowledge. Carole arranged custom walks for organisations from around the world. She was also involved in role play activities for several Heritage Weeks, and produced ‘Costumed Characters’ in the Stone Chamber of the Provincial Council Buildings. The Long-serving Walking Guides of Christchurch Personal Guiding Service, Annette Chapman and Carol Tonge.

Mark Hawley came to the City Mission in 2010 as a food bank volunteer. He took over the warehouse where non-perishable foods are stored, organised the space, cleaned and stacked stock, and established stock rotation systems. After the September and February earthquakes, Mark was very busy dealing with large quantities of food from all over New Zealand and beyond. He worked many hours, day and night, to make sure food was organised for easy moving. The food bank has now become one of the busiest in Christchurch and Mark continues to work five days a week, and come in after hours when needed. Mark Hawley of the Christchurch City Mission.

Maureen Snelling has been a companion volunteer with Alzheimer’s Canterbury for the past twelve years.  She has been dedicated to supporting those with memory loss, on a weekly basis, within the Christchurch community.  Maureen has visited clients with dementia, supporting their caregivers by allowing them time out from their normal care-giving duties. Maureen has also been involved with the NOW cafe, set up for those with dementia.  She phones attendees to remind them of this monthly get-together, and numbers have more than doubled since she became involved. She has also been involved with catering for functions put on by Alzheimer’s Canterbury, where her culinary skills are highly appreciated. She is Maureen Snelling of Alzheimer’s Canterbury.  [Maureen is not able to be here today because the NOW café is running in a new venue, for the first time, and she felt she needed to be there.]

Maurice Joy, with his dog Roxie, has been going to Princess Margaret Hospital twice weekly since July 2009, to visit patients on the wards and provide pet therapy. For some patients, especially with dementia, pet therapy helps to meet their basic needs of love and belonging, and for some the sensory stimulation through seeing, touching, and smelling the dog brings back memories and opens up conversations.  They also enjoy being able to walk the dog around the grounds or corridors. Staff also benefit as they enjoy watching the pleasure and stimulation their patients derive from the visit.  Maurice Joy of the Hospital Helping Hands at Princess Margaret Hospital.

Ola Kamel is a tower of strength within the Egyptian community in Christchurch.  She takes care of new immigrants, looks after household affairs for families travelling back to Egypt, runs Arabic and cultural classes, and works to facilitate better relationships between migrants and Kiwis.  She has also sponsored a refugee family from Afghanistan for three years. After the earthquakes, Ola looked after Egyptian and Arabic-speaking international students, giving advice and reassurance, and visiting them at home to check on their wellbeing. Ola set up the Egyptian Association of Canterbury in 2004, and organises its monthly meetings keeping in constant touch with new and current members. Ola Kamel of the Egyptian Association of Canterbury.

Pat Isle is the volunteer leader of the Bishopdale Tuesday walking group.  She has run this group for the past six years.  Pat organises a varied programme of weekly walks that cater for the different levels of fitness in the group, and finishes each walk with morning tea, either at Sundbye Community House, or at a café.  She organises a mid-winter lunch in June and a Christmas lunch at the end of the year for past and present members of the group. Pat’s commitment and dedication enable the mainly elderly ladies in this group to keep physically and socially active, and contribute to their community in many ways.  Pat Isle of Bishopdale Community Trust.

Phil Humphreys has been a voluntary board member of Parafed Canterbury for the past 29 years. His enthusiasm, passion, and drive have ensured that disabled communities in Canterbury and New Zealand have benefited. Phil has officiated at countless sporting events including overseeing all table and bench officials for the 2006 Wheelchair Rugby Championships which won the award for the best sports event in Christchurch that year. He is on the board of the New Zealand Paraplegic and Physically Disabled Foundation which administers low interest loans for people with a disability. Pat is a life member of Parafed Canterbury and has been awarded the Paralympics New Zealand Order of Merit.  Phil Humphreys of Parafed Canterbury.

The Quake Volunteers are five ladies in their seventies, who were in charge of a group of twenty people with mental health issues in the Caledonian Hall during the earthquake on February 22nd 2011. These volunteers showed courage and leadership when brick walls collapsed. They coped amazingly well, calming and ensuring the group were safe. Some were carried out over rubble, and one member from Lyttelton was cared for by one of these volunteers for the next 24 hours until her family could reclaim her. Three volunteers lost their cars but everyone eventually reached home safely.  Pam, Nancy, Heather, Diane, and Brenda gave outstanding service in frightening circumstances. The Quake Volunteers of St Luke’s Centre and the Award will be accepted by Nancy Bell and Brenda Segar.

The Rebuild Christchurch Foundation arose from a need to take the social reach of the volunteer-run website, rebuildchristchurch.co.nz to a practical level.  The foundation’s members have organised volunteer days when over 300 volunteers have helped in the community with earthquake-related tasks, and made a significant impact. They have also raised funds outside Christchurch to distribute to local community groups supporting repair and rebuild activities. 78 families who couldn’t afford Christmas due to earthquake related issues were given personalised Christmas hampers for their entire families. The members donate considerable time and resources to the Foundation, and are committed to creating an ongoing efficient and successful organisation.  The Members of the Rebuild Christchurch Foundation and the Award will be accepted by Anthea Livingstone and Wendy Davie.

Safecare is a rape and sexual assault support service operated by volunteers. They work on a 24/7 roster, being on call for twelve hours at a time.  The four women nominated have provided this service for several years. During the last 18 months the agency has gone through difficult times as they lost everything in the February earthquake but these four volunteers have carried on providing a much needed service.  They work closely with police and doctors to provide the best support possible to the victims of sexual crime.  The work they do is specialized and these skilled volunteers are dedicated and committed to their role. The Safecare Volunteers of the Sexual Abuse Survivors Trust, and the Award will be accepted by Margaret Marshall and Michelle Turrall.

Sultana Islam is member of Shakti Christchurch, one of ten centres nationally, working in domestic violence intervention, prevention, and awareness in migrant and refugee communities of Asian, African, and Middle Eastern origins. Sultana, herself a single mother, supported vulnerable women and their children, and worked towards setting up a specialist refuge. She was the Chairperson of Shakti Christchurch for over two years, and was also a member of the national Shakti Community Council. Sultana is passionate about her cause, and is one of the few Muslim women in New Zealand who openly campaign against all forms of violence and oppression of women.  She is Sultana Islam of Shakti Ethnic Women’s Support Group.  Because Sultana is unwell today Jano will accept the Award on her behalf.

Terry Downey has been a graffiti removal volunteer since 2008 when he registered with the pilot programme in Phillipstown.  He has continued as a volunteer with the City Council Graffiti Programme, making him one of the oldest and longest serving graffiti removal volunteers. Despite many other volunteer commitments, he spends hours removing graffiti, and conscientiously completing the required follow up paperwork. His main area of responsibility and concern has been removing graffiti from residential fences and utility boxes within his community.  Many residents have come forward and expressed their appreciation directly to him.  Terry Downey of the Christchurch City Council – Graffiti Programme.

Catholic Social Services provides counselling and social work support to families and individuals.  Vonnie Martin has been a volunteer with this agency for more than eleven years. Every Tuesday she helps with administration tasks, food bank statistics, and reception duties.  If a staff member is away she generously agrees to fill in at short notice, whether it’s a cold winter’s day or a sunny day in summer.  Vonnie is loved by everyone in the team and her wit, humour, and good company are very much appreciated.  The agency is grateful for the time and energy which she contributes. Veronica Martin of Catholic Social Services.

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