Invercargill Local Heroes honoured

14 Dec 2016

Invercargill Local Hero Award Ceremony
Invercargill Local Hero Award Ceremony

14th December 2016

Local Heroes honoured for services to the community

Everyday people doing exceptional things were the toast of the town last night as Southland honoured its very own “Local Heroes”.

As part of the 2017 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards, the 15 winners of the Local Heroes category were presented with their awards last night at a special medal presentation ceremony held at the Kelvin Hotel.

Southland District Council Mayor Gary Tong was on hand to present the medals. He congratulated the recipients on their award and said that it was vital that the community continued to acknowledge the contributions they have made.

“Many of these medal winners are unsung heroes whose selflessness has had a profound effect on the lives of so many in the community. Those acts of charity, optimism and commitment are the glue that hold a community together and as a community we must stand alongside one another and give thanks for their efforts,” he said.

The recipients of the Kiwibank Local Hero Awards for the Southland region were:

Lindsay Wright

Marion Miller

Christine Sutherland

Graeme Humphries

Paul Ruddenklau

Reginald McLeod

Neil Boniface

Fred and Alva Inder

John Husband

Shirley Pratt

Carla Werder

Jessica Hamill

Karen Purdue

Ebel Kremer

The Kiwibank Local Hero awards are now New Zealand’s premier community award and give thanks to those providing a positive contribution to their region, town, suburb or community. Nearly 350 medals will be presented nationwide during November and December.

Kiwibank CEO, Paul Brock, said that Kiwibank was proud to be supporting local communities celebrate their outstanding citizens over the past eight years.

“New Zealand has a long-standing tradition of community service. It’s therefore equally important that we have a tradition, like the Local Heroes Awards, where we can give our thanks to those who have improved the lives of others in their communities.”

The 2017 New Zealander of the Year Awards are presented in six award categories. The overall winner for each category will be announced at the New Zealander of the Year Awards Gala in February 2017.

In December, the judging panel - comprising representatives of all the awards patrons, presenters, sponsors, community leaders and independent experts - will announce the 10 semi-finalists for the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year and supporting categories.

The categories are:

• The Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year

• The Metlifecare Senior New Zealander of the Year

• The University of Auckland Young New Zealander of the Year

• The Mitre 10 New Zealand Community of the Year

• The Sanitarium New Zealand Innovator of the Year

• The Kiwibank New Zealand Local Hero of the Year

Media contact:

Nicky Barton, 0273 060603

For images and further details on the recipients:

Glyn Taylor, New Zealander of the Year Awards, 021 671799,

Photo caption:

From left to right:

Steven Davey (Kiwibank), Graeme Humphries, Christine Sutherland, Gary Inder (receiving on behalf of his father Fred Inder), Marion Miller, Lindsay Wright, Neil Bonniface, Karen Purdue, Jessica Hamill, Reginald McLeod, Ebel Kremer, Viv Tambling (receiving on behalf of her mother Alva Inder), Carla Werder, Paul Ruddenklau, John Husband, Southland District Mayor Gary Tong, Shirley Pratt.

Editors notes:

Southland’s Local Heroes

Marion Miller (Invercargill)

Marion is an outstanding Southland citizen who has given back to the local community through her many involvements.

She is a New Zealand Order of Merit recipient, Suffrage Medal for Services to Women recipient, Commemorative Medal for Service recipient, Justice of the Peace, Environment Southland Councillor and a family and relationship mediator.

Her service to these roles spans more than 30 years.

Reginald McLeod (Invercargill)

Reginald is a Salvation Army store and hospice worker who has been a constant support to the city of Invercargill and its residents.

He is also a life member of the Pirates Rugby Club where he has been both a player, mentor and now a stalwart of the club.

Neil Boniface (Invercargill)

Neil’s contribution to the Invercargill and wider Southland community over the past forty years has been nothing short of outstanding.

Neil is one of New Zealand’s longest serving city councillors. He was first elected to the Invercargill City Council in 1974, and apart from the 1977-80 term, he has served on the City Council ever since. This year marks his 39th year of service as an Invercargill City Councillor. He has served with distinction, holding most roles in the Council over this time, including 12 years as Deputy Mayor to Mayor Tim Shadbolt.

He has served for 24 years as a Director of Electricity Invercargill Ltd. and several other companies. Neil was elected to serve on the board of the Invercargill Licensing Trust for 27 years, six of these years as deputy president.

Neil has served for 15 years as a Justice of the Peace and two years as president of the Southland Justices of the Peace Association from 2013 to 2015.

Neil was a founding member of the steering committee for the Citizens’ Advice Bureau Invercargill Ltd almost 40 years ago and was also the key founder of the Southland Warm Homes Trust, an organisation established in 2008 to facilitate the insulation of homes. He has been president of the Trust since its inception.

He has served on the Relay for Life committee, as chairman for the Otago and Southland Division of the Cancer Society and has also served as a Rotarian for 17 years.

Shirley Pratt (Invercargill)

Shirley has been instrumental in the success of Southern REAP’s Young Mums/NCEA4U programme. This programme enables second chance learners to work towards achieving NCEA credits through Te Kura correspondence school.

Learners come to work alongside Shirley in a classroom setting two mornings a week to ensure they are on the right track with their assignments, to hand in their weekly work books and to assist with any issues that may have arisen while they work through their units.

Many of the learners enrolled in the Young Mums/NCEA4U programme have had negative learning experiences in the past both in and out of school.

Shirley has a way of making all learners feel valued and welcome. She quietly encourages every learner to be the best that they can be. She promotes self-confidence and helps her students to find their place in the world.

Shirley is also the Southern REAPs GATE Gifted and Talented Education coordinator and tutors some of the Gifted and Talented programmes.

Carla Werder (Invercargill)

Carla is passionate about people and community – she works as a teacher, runs a weekly programme for teenage girls and volunteers for the local fire brigade.

Carla is a Ranger leader with GirlGuiding New Zealand and has run programmes and activities for girls in Invercargill for more than ten years.

She has the ability to create a fun and fearless atmosphere for girls involved in her programmes which is testament to her desire to connect and include girls within the community.

Carla also has the ability to make people feel comfortable while showing empathy to their individuality and circumstances.

Christine Sutherland (Invercargill)

Christine has been supporting Look Good Feel Better almost since its inception in 1992.

She is a volunteer coordinator and tutor in the communities of Invercargill, Dunedin, Oamaru, Central Otago, and Queenstown.

As one of the founding workshop tutors, Christine has supported more than a thousand women who have been impacted by the visible effects of cancer and its treatment. In the 2014 to 2016 period, she has reached nearly 400 women, helping them to face their cancer with more confidence and a sense of normality at a time that is anything but normal.

In addition to supporting local participants and volunteers, Christine also lends her hand whenever required to help support events and fundraising across the region.

Christine was working in the cosmetic industry in Invercargill when she was first introduced to Look Good Feel Better. She volunteered at the workshops, and once again witnessed the effect of what a little makeup could do to bolster confidence and self-esteem to so many of the brave woman attending the programme.

Karen Purdue (Invercargill)

Karen is a long-time Rotary Board member and a volunteer of various other organisations.

She enjoys working with youth which has seen her take part in a Dragon’s Den style enterprise studies challenge with students from Southland Girls High School.

Karen was a 2016 Civic Award winner for Invercargill.

John Husband (Riverton)

Artist, radio announcer, musician, author and former board member of the Southland Museum and Art Gallery, John has been an active member of the Southland community for many years.

He is the former long-time curator at the Anderson Park Art Gallery.

When he took over as curator more than half a century ago, the now beautiful gallery was an empty shell of a house.

John has transformed it into an amazing exhibition space that has showcased works from throughout New Zealand.

Paul Ruddenklau (Te Anau)

Paul is an all-rounded individual with strong family, community, environmental and lifestyle morals.

Last year Paul was awarded with the Lincoln University award for innovation and technology in the South Island Farmer of the Year competition. Paul and his wife Tracey farm sheep and beef organically in the Te Anau basin and have now been certified organic for 10 years.

Paul is heavily involved in the community from running a local trail ride fundraiser, the local gun club, a farmer’s buyers group and he is on the parent teacher committee for his local school. He also coaches his kid’s rugby team over the season.

Paul is also involved in an agritech company called Agrimap. A cloud based app that allows any primary industry to record, store, or share any of their information in one place, in real time.

His positivity in everything he does, education for organic farming and origins of our food is world class.

Graeme Humphries (Te Anau)

Graeme has spent 42 years as a fireman and 15 years as chief of the Te Anau Volunteer Fire Brigade. He stepped down from the role of chief earlier this year but remains an active member of the brigade.

He joined the fire service in 1972 and spent nine years in the Mossburn Volunteer Fire Brigade before he moved to Te Anau, where he has lived ever since.

Half the calls the brigade receives are to attend motor vehicle accidents on busy roads and Graeme has worked closely with ambulance services over the years. Staff of both the fire brigade and ambulance service hold him in exceptionally high regard.

Earlier this year he received a Queen's Services medal for service to the New Zealand Fire Service.

Fred and Alva Inder (Te Anau)

Fred and Alva have been contributing members of the Te Anau Boating Club for more than half a century.

Fred has been the boat harbour warden at the club for 23 years and Alva has worked tirelessly behind the scenes and was sometimes called to be the front person for the club.

Fred has been a member of the Te Anau Boating Club for 51 years, the Gore Boat and Water-ski Club for 50 years and served on the Fish and Game Council for 21 years as an honorary ranger.

The couple have been married for 64 years and moved to Te Anau in 1988.

In 1998 Fred was appointed Guardian of Lakes Manapouri, Te Anau and Monowai. Fred has also done water quality swimming checks for Environment Southland for eight years.

Alva did a lot of work at the boat club, signing up new members and doing administration work. She also attends to phone inquiries relating to the boat club, boat marina, Fish and Game and lake guardians.

Lindsay Wright (Wendonside)

Lindsay has had 24 years of experience as a fourth generation farmer from Wendonside. In recent years he has become increasingly involved off farm with services to rural mental health.

He has now leased out his property and is fully involved in a variety of community organisations.

Lindsay has personally experienced and beaten the "down side" of stress and knows the difference the support of others can make when times are tough. He is working as a GoodYarn facilitator and trainer.

Lindsay runs workshop across the country, which are a practical tool for farmers and rural businesses to help them to identify the signs and symptoms of mental illness and teach them how to discuss it.

Teaching people how to have these conversations removes the stigma associated with mental illness.

Lindsay is also a coordinator for Rural Support Southland.

Jessica Hamill (Dunedin)

At just 25 years old, Jess has been defying the odds of her cerebral palsy to represent New Zealand on the world para-athletics stage.

She has competed in para-athletics events including shotput, discus and javelin since the age of 15, competing internationally since 2006.

Jess represented New Zealand at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing before taking a few years break from competing. She returned with great success bringing home a bronze medal in the women’s shotput at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.

She won a silver medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in shot put for elite athletes with a disability. She also won silver at the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships which meant her automatic qualification for the 2016 Paralympics.

Jess is dedicated and inspiring, and against the odds she is making her mark on the world of athletics.

Ebel Kremer (Mararoa-Waimea)

Ebel is the elected councillor for the Mararoa-Waimea Wardof Southland District Council.

He is a loyal Southlander who has been a staunch advocate for those in the community for many years.

He is also a member of the Te Anau Community Board.

Nicky Barton

PR Consultant

04 499 6940

0273 060 603

Lv. 12 City Chambers

142 Featherston Street


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