Local Heroes honoured in the Bay of Plenty/ Tauranga

23 Nov 2016

Tauranga Local Hero Medal Ceremony
Tauranga Local Hero Medal Ceremony

23 November 2016

Local Heroes honoured for services to the community

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

As part of the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards 2017, the 15 winners of the Local Heroes category were presented with their awards last night at a special medal presentation ceremony held at the Classic Flyers Museum in Mount Maunganui.

Tauranga City Council Deputy Mayor Kelvin Clout 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 Bay of Plenty were:

Bill Kerrison

Sally Durham

Chris Duggan

Kate Meads

Sheila Ewart

Steve Jeffares

Campbell Hill

David Garland

Michael Brown

Yvette Lamare

Steve Ellingford

Janice Tetley-Jones

Anna Lea Johnson

David Hiika Hiakita

Pete Atkinson

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 nationwideduring 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, info@nzawards.org.nz

Photo caption:

Back row (L to R): Chris Duggan, Pete Atkinson, Steve Jeffares, Steve Ellingford, Sheila Ewart, Michael Brown, Campbell Hill.

Front row (L to R): Bill Kerrison, David Hiika Hiakita, Kate Meads, David Garland, Janice Tetley-Jones, Sally Durham, Yvette Lamare

Absent: Anna Lea Johnson

Editors notes:

Previous Bay of Plenty medal recipient Ryan Topperwien is ineligible for a second medal but will be considered for the National Kiwibank New Zealand Local Hero of the Year Award which will be announced at the Gala on 22nd February, 2017.

Bay of Plenty’s Local Heroes

Sheila Ewart (Greerton)

Sheila has been involved with Kidz Need Dadz since its inception in 2002. Sheila, along with two others, saw a need for communities to be supporting fathers and started the group to achieve that.

The charity works and supports men throughout New Zealand with a mission to strengthen father/child relationships though support, education and fun.

Sheila is the chairperson and also one of the three facilitators for “DadzKare”, a group that supports men who are going through separation, struggling to find their way through the family court and to stay involved with their children.

In addition, Sheila gives up the fourth Saturday of the month to work in the Kidz Need Dadz Bitz and Bobz op-shop. She also runs events for families to come together and have fun.

Sheila is an amazing person. Her passion for children and men having a safe and supportive place to go is valued by so many in the community.

Kate Meads (Katikati)

Kate, also known as The Nappy Lady, is an advocate for sustainable living and minimising waste.

She has devoted the past decade to promoting waste-free parenting and waste-free living by endlessly touring the country delivering workshops to parents. She maintains a website, and posts reviews and videos to her Facebook feed.

Kate’s journey into a better way of managing waste started after the birth her son. Her family’s waste increased by 50% and by simply switching to cloth nappies and making some slight changes to their consumption, waste dropped back to what it was, and saved thousands of dollars.

Kate’s message is simple. It is about educating and encouraging people on how to do things differently and be inspired to change just one thing. Kate is guiding new mums to love the idea that they are making a positive difference that will benefit the environment.

David Garland (Pyes-Pa)

David has been involved in the Scouting movement since the mid-1950s and has represented Scouting both in New Zealand and overseas.

An active member of the community, David volunteers his time across a number of organisations including the Red Cross, Meals on Wheels and as a member of Rotary for 25 years.

David and his wife Beverley, are life members of Tauranga Te Papa Probus where they have been members for the past ten years.

Bill Kerrison (Galatea)

For nearly a quarter of a century, Bill has been working tirelessly to help save the Rangitaiki River’s eels. It's estimated that he has helped relocate 30 million eels, clocking up 25,000 kilometres annually in his car in the process.

For the last decade, the migrating eels had been getting stuck against the screens in front of the intake pipes to the Matahina dam. Bill now traps and transfers the eels and other native fish species past a series of dams, so they can continue maturing or head out to sea to breed.

While he knows he can't save every eel, Bill says every eel he does save "is a bonus”. Bill is an environmental hero and is playing a huge role is preserving the country’s eel population.

Chris Duggan (Tauranga)

Chris established the House of Science in 2013 with a vision to raise scientific literacy in the Western Bay of Plenty by giving children a place to explore, experiment and investigate science in all its forms.

House of Science has developed into a unique and effective business that spans education and entrepreneurism, and is embraced enthusiastically by the whole team - staff, their families, volunteers, contractors and customers.

Over 52 volunteers together contribute 150 hours a week during the school term. Their tasks range from developing science resources, applying for community grants, and delivering equipment to schools.

80% of the local primary and 100% of the secondary schools are now members of the House of Science. 400 teachers have received professional development which has helped them increase their confidence to teach science by connecting teachers with local scientists.

The success of the House of Science is due to Chris’s passion and drive to take science to the community through the core values of curiosity, community and collaboration.

Campbell Hill (Tauranga)

Cam is a co-founder of the Good Neighbour Trust which was established in 2013 to help neighbours make their communities better places to live.

Good Neighbour is made up of three separate strands that make it a powerful agent of change in its neighbourhoods. These are: Neighbourhood Projects, Food Rescue, and Growing Community Gardens.

Cam’s main focus is leading the neighbourhood projects team, liaising with people in need and the Good Neighbour’s volunteers. He is heavily involved in the daily running of the Trust’s projects, putting in many volunteer hours to raise awareness of the organisation. He is always on the lookout for ways to give a helping hand and support within and outside of the Trust.

Under the leadership of Cam and the Trust Board, Good Neighbour Tauranga has continued to grow.

Janice Tetley-Jones (Tauranga)

Janice is the director of the Pregnancy Choice Centre in Tauranga, a not-for-profit organisation that helps women who find themselves in a crisis pregnancy and feel like they have no support.

Helping pregnant women is Janice's passion and Pregnancy Choice exists because of her commitment not only as a pregnancy counsellor but also as a genuinely caring woman.

She has a big heart for people and will help anyone, even to the point of offering her home to people who are in crisis situations.

Janice is a strong and selfless leader committed to the support others. She always has a positive outlook on life and a smile on her face. She is much loved by her family, friends and the staff at Pregnancy Choice and is highly respected in the community

Yvette Lamare (Gate Pa)

Yvette has been driven to make the lives and futures of New Zealand children brighter, safer and healthier through her passion to promote 'DRUG AND ALCOHOL FREE LIFE'.

In 1988 Yvette published 'Never Judge a Book by its Cover' a collection of personal poems covering a range of social topics relating to drink driving, suicide, drug and alcohol abuse. Using her book Yvette has travelled extensively to numerous schools presenting her poems at school assemblies.

Yvette is a passionate campaigner and advocate for a drug and alcohol free environment. She has used her poetry and unique presentation to empower students to think more deeply.

In 2014 Yvette campaigned and organized a song competition for high school students from 37 secondary schools in the Bay of Plenty who had to use her "Alcohol" poem as the lyrics. This year she ran the same competition through the Auckland region.

Yvette continues to commit her enthusiasm and creativity to promoting healthier lifestyles.

Steve Ellingford (Mount Maunganui)

For more than decade, Steve has been a vanguard for social change in the Bay of Plenty. His work has attracted global attention in the areas of sustainability and accessibility.

As centre manager at Tauranga’s Bayfair Shopping Centre, Steve’s leadership is an example of how businesses can operate sustainably in New Zealand. His initiatives have included introducing a zero- waste food court, electric vehicle and mobility scooter charging stations, a grey and rainwater harvesting system, and finally a dog parking facility.

In the past ten years, the shopping centre has halved the waste it sends to landfill through its recycling programme, significantly decreased its power and waste consumption (and costs by half a million dollars) and over the next ten years aims to reduce its use of potable water by 60%.

Steve is passionate about demonstrating how positive changes implemented by large businesses can make a difference to society, and that providing leadership on important issues can have a flow-on effect through to the rest of their communities.

Anna Lea Johnson (Mt Manganui)

Anna Lea had already given plenty back to her community through her role with the Life Education Trust when her cousin passed away in 2008.

Selflessly, Anna Lea gave up her position with the Trust to take full-time care of her cousin’s children aged 21, 18 and twins of 18 months at the time. Anna Lea already had four children of her own but wanted to ensure the children received a stable, caring and nurturing upbringing.

Anna Lea epitomises the characteristics of a hero, stepping up to a challenge when others are desperately in need.

Michael Brown (Whitianga)

Mike, a resident of Whitianga for the past 12 years, saw a need for an x-ray machine to be purchased for the Whitianga region.

Previously people requiring an x-ray would need to take the two and a half hour round trip to Thames. In conjunction with the local Lions Club, Mike raised $275,000 to complete the project which saw the purchase of the machine, construction of a space and installation of the x-ray itself.

Having the machine available to the residents of Whitianga is estimated to have saved the community hundreds of thousands of dollars in travel and time.

Mike is now working with the local Scout group to raise funds for a new den.

Sally Durham (Whakatane)

Sally has been working for the Ohope Beach Care retirement and dementia care facility as a manager for at least 10 years.

She visits patients in hospital outside of hours, picks them up and drops them off and generally and genuinely "cares" for the residents. She gives eulogies at their funerals, not as a business manager but as a person who cared about those people as individuals.

Almost every Friday for the past six years, Sally has volunteered at St John Ambulance. She volunteers if needed at Ohope Beach Care, taking on additional 12 hour shifts. Sally also spent three years as a volunteer coastguard operator in Whakatane.

David Hiika Hiakita (Whakatane)

David is professional guitarist, teacher, Maori carver, artist and entertainer.

With 40 years’ experience in the music industry, David has taught both music theory and application to hundreds of students over the decades.

David has a strong faith and attributes his success and strength to being a Christian. He started a church for his family and friends in the community, holding gatherings at his marae Tauanui.

In addition to teaching music, David also teaches Te Reo Maori and is keen on preserving the Maori language by sharing it with as many people possible.

Steve Jeffares (Whakatane)

Steve runs the technology department for year 7 and 8 students at Edgecumbe College. More than 250 students from eight primary schools use his technology facilities every week.

For the past ten years, Steve has been going to extra mile to help his students learn about and enjoy technology. He is one of those people that can’t say no and does a whole range of things for his students such as fixing toys and broken sports equipment, all in his own time and at his own expense.

Edgecumbe College was also the first school in the region to go ‘water only’ and Steve was the driving force behind sourcing a water supplier. On a regular basis Steve will also put his hand into his own pocket to make sure the students that arrive at school with no food do not go hungry. 

Steve is a special person doing special things for students and colleagues. He is a local hero to many.

Pete Atkinson (Opotiki)

If it wasn't for Pete’s CPR knowledge, a local Opotiki family may be without a father. In June last year Pete just happened to be at home when a neighbour urgently needed his help.

Pete’s neighbour had suffered a heart attack and had stopped breathing. The man’s partner had rushed across the road to Pete’s house to ask for help. Pete was immediately able to perform CPR on his neighbour until ambulance officers arrived.

The neighbour survived, later undergoing a triple bypass and having a defibrillator put in to restart his heart should it stop again.

Without Pete’s quick thinking the man may well have died and his heroics that day were a miracle for not just his neighbour and his family, but the local community.

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