Wellington Local Heroes honoured

6 Dec 2016

Wellington Local Hero Awards Ceremony
Wellington Local Hero Awards Ceremony

Wellington Local Heroes honoured for services to the community

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

As part of the 2017 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards, the 35 winners of the Local Heroes category were presented with their awards last night at a special medal presentation ceremony held in the Banquet Hall at Parliament.

Wellington City Councillor Sarah Free was on hand to present the medals. She 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. Their example is particularly important at this time as we face challenges such as the recent earthquakes” she said.

The recipients of the Kiwibank Local Hero Awards for Wellington were:

Shari-ana Clifford

Major Campbell Roberts

Stacey Shorthall

Alex Bengree

Teresa Tepania-Ashton

Gary Mitchell

Eva McGauley

Phillip (Levi) Faamau

Tracy Wellington

Shona Murray

Anna Guenther

Marianne Elliot

Taina Tangaere-McGregor

Christine Langdon

Pengbo Jiang

Mark Jordan

Justine Fleming

Sam Hart

Anna O'Meeghan

William Lindsay

Jillian Boyd

Cathy Howell

Helen Kelly*

Charlotte Watkins

Amy Fanning

Roz Brown

Robert Francis

Rawiri Smith

Joy Cowley

Ian Stewart

Jacqui Sutherland

Alastair Sutherland

Corey Regnerus

Josh Robertson

Russell Leech

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, info@nzawards.org.nz

Editors notes:

* DECEASED (Helen’s brother Max Kelly will accept the award on her behalf)

Photo Caption:

Back row: Phillip (Levi) Faamau; Tracy Wellington; Russell Leech; Stacey Shorthall; Alastair Sutherland; Alex Bengree; Jacqui Sutherland; Anna Guenther; Mark Jordan; Roz Brown; Marianne Elliot; Max Kelly collecting on behalf of the late Helen Kelly; Amy Christie collecting on behalf of Jillian Boyd; Corey Regnerus; Shona Murray; Josh Robertson; Cathy Howell; William Lindsay; Councillor Sarah Free; Rawiri Smith; Christine Langdon; Ian Stewart; Kiwibank CEO Paul Brock.

Front row: Bob Francis; Sam Hart; Joy Cowley; Pengbo Jaing; Eva McGauley; Gary Mitchell; Teresa Tepania-Ashton; Taina Tangaere-McGregor; Anna O’Meeghan; Justine Fleming; Shari-ana Clifford.

Absent: Amy Fanning, Major Campbell Roberts, Charlotte Watkins

Wellington, Wairarapa and Kapiti’s Local Heroes: 

Major Campbell Roberts (Wellington)

Major Campbell Roberts is the founder and director of the Salvation Army's Social Policy Research and Parliamentary Affairs Unit. He is also director of the Salvation Army’s $100m social services in New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga. These operations include running hospices, homecare services, addiction services, sheltered accommodation, employment training and early childhood education.

Campbell has been a serial social entrepreneur in developing the Salvation Army's welfare and social policy.

In the 1970s, Campbell was also part of developing the Salvation Army’s national network of Community Work Schemes, and supporting community services to the unemployed.

In the 1980s, he founded the Community Service Operation of the Salvation Army in South Auckland, and in the 1990s managed the total re-organisation of the Salvation Army Social and Community Services throughout New Zealand.

In recent years, Campbell helped establish the New Zealand Housing Foundation which is supporting innovative models of providing housing solutions for low-income people. He also co-founded the Rethinking Crime and Punishment Campaign.

He initiated a task force approach to the work of the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services, and today leads its Poverty and Housing Task Force. He also convenes the regular consultation meetings between church leaders and the Prime Minister.

Teresa Tepania-Ashton (Wellington)

Teresa led the Ngapuhi Runanga for seven years and has contributed her extensive financial and banking experience to the improvement of Maori economic development.

Teresa is now CEO of Maori Women's Development Inc (MWDI), which provides loans to Maori women looking to start their own business. MWDI runs adult and youth training programmes and has trained 130 financial literacy facilitators in remote areas.

Teresa was a community representative on Unitec's Maori advisory board and has served as a trustee of Te Puna Reo Maori O Maungarongo, Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Mangaronga, and Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Nga Mokopuna. Teresa was a trustee of Leadership New Zealand, a director of Te Putea Whakatipu, is currently a director of Te Aupouri Fisheries Management and Te Aupouri Commercial Development, and is chairperson of Te Mangai Penapena Putea, a partner-working group for the Financial Literacy and Savings strategy with He Kai Kei Aku Ringa.

Taina Tangaere-McGregor (Wellington)

Taina is of Ngati Porou descent and is passionate about preserving the history of the achievements of her race.

Now in her seventies, she still works tirelessly for Alexander Turnbull library as an oral history adviser for Maori. She travels the length and breadth of Aotearoa to interview multitudes of people both Maori and Pakeha.

Taina trains Maori people to effectively archive their oral history and works tirelessly to preserve the Maori language for generations to come.

She is creative and through teaching other Maori how to use video cameras, she is keeping interest in the Maori language alive in the present population.

Christine Langdon (Wellington)

As a volunteer with New Zealand Women’s Refuge, Christine saw the opportunity to develop a skilled volunteering program for Z Energy. This program has now become integrated in to the corporate program which now sees many of the team sharing their skills with wider New Zealand.

Christine volunteers with the Community Comms Collective, providing strategic and communication advice and she also provides mentoring to two social entrepreneurs who are setting up a catering company that employs refugees as chefs.

As a yoga instructor, Christine has been putting her skills to good use running yoga classes in work places where participants are require to bring along a koha which is donated to a charity. To date these classes have raised almost $4000

For the past three years Christine has taught a yoga class on a Friday morning at Arohata Prison in its high security wing. 

Christine has become a consistent part of the weekly pattern at the prison, bringing many physical, emotional and spiritual benefits of yoga and community to the women.

Stacey Shortall (Wellington)

Stacey is partner at law firm Minter Ellison Rudd Watts and while she has a strong reputation for her legal abilities, it is her increasing commitment to social issues and involvement in pro bono and charitable work that makes her a local hero in the Wellington region.

Her community initiatives include establishing a Homework Help Club at Holy Family School in Wellington, a model that has now been rolled out to around 10 other schools in New Zealand.

Stacey set up the Mother’s Project at Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility, which seeks to assist imprisoned mothers maintain meaningful connections with their children.

Stacey has also started an organisation called ‘Who did you help today?’ which seeks to connect skilled people who want to volunteer their time with not-for-profit community projects.

Stacey won the 2015 Lawyer of the Year award for her work with decile one schools and incarcerated mothers.

Marianne Elliot (Wellington)

Marianne is the national director of ActionStation which enables a large community of Kiwis with shared values to take powerful, coordinated action on urgent issues we care about.

As a lawyer Marianne worked for the United Nations in Afghanistan and is dedicated to the causes of human rights and social justice, with experience in building online communities, social entrepreneurship and storytelling.

Marianne has specialized in human rights and worked in Timor-Leste, New Zealand, the Gaza Strip and Afghanistan.

Marianne has experience in senior level management and leadership, including director level in non-profit and for-profit organizations.

Eva McGauley (Wellington)

Eva focuses on putting a stop to sexual violence in New Zealand while she still has time.

She is dying of a rare type of head and neck cancer (nasopharyngeal carcinoma) but remains extremely motivated to help others.

Eva has launched an online campaign with a goal of raising $50,000 that would go towards youth services. She has also developed a new plan for a more user-friendly online based service for victims of sexual violence.

At the end of October this year, Eva had raised $30,000 towards her cause.

Tracy Wellington (Tawa)

Tracy is the co-founder and central coordinator of Kiwi Community Assistance (KCA). KCA are a community support distribution hub which provides resources to front-line agencies.

These resources are then passed on to clients in need of a hand up and might include anything from fresh produce to furniture.

Tracy is committed to alleviating poverty in New Zealand with a particular focus on assisting children and helping the environment. Without the commitment of people like Tracy, resources would not make their way to front-line organisations and on to those who are desperately in need.

Shona Murray (Tawa)

Shona has been the driving force behind the Tawa Schools and Community Music Festival, which takes place once every two years.

The festival involves most of the children in years 5-6 at Tawa's six primary schools, those in the Madrigal Choir at Tawa Intermediate, plus singers from Tawa College. Added to that are 80 to 100 singers in the adult section of the massed choir. What results is a total of 600 to 700 voices all singing in unison and a spectacular event.

Between 1979 and 2010, Shona directed 22 festivals and has been key to the success of the festival’s profile. While Shona might no longer direct the festival, the legacy of her efforts live on.

Phillip (Levi) Faamau (Porirua)

The Alt School has been giving young people from Cannons Creek a second chance at education for more than thirty years.

The school is for children who seem to be falling through the cracks and are often referred by the police, other social services or the five colleges which serve the Porirua basin.

Levi leads a team of local people who are passionate about turning things around. They start by creating a safe place where each person can achieve educationally.

Levi plays senior level rugby and despite offers from overseas clubs, he has elected to remain serving the community he grew up in. He has been at the school for the past five years and more recently has stepped into the leadership for it.

Levi is particularly effective at harnessing support from the wider community; members of the police regularly come around and get involved with students, defusing the potential for confrontations on the streets later on.

Shari-ana Clifford (Porirua)

Shari –ana started an initiative to help feed the children at her daughter’s school who didn’t have lunch. What began with just 12 children has grown into an initiative that helps to feed 1200 children a week.

Shari-ana saw that there were a lot of children living in poverty in Porirua who were missing out on even a basic school lunch.

Not wanting these children to go hungry, Shari-ana found six local people and created a board. She then enlisted 40 volunteers and got 20 local businesses to donate food each week to the cause.

Shari-Ana now devotes 12 hours per day, seven days a week to this wonderful initiative.

The movement has grown to lead food drives, food preparation and teach healthy eating courses. She continues with this amazing work and seeks to feed more needy children to enable every opportunity in education.

Gary Mitchell (Grenada Village)

Gary works for the New Zealand Police as a Custody Officer within the Wellington District Custody Unit.

He is responsible for the referrals of hundreds of prisoner for housing and drug/alcohol assitance while in custody. His programme has the highest acceptance rate by prisoners in New Zealand, with 66% of them continuing with the courses. He has a direct effect on hundreds of prisoners who would have had no help if it wasn’t for his assistance.

Since 2015, Gary has volunteered for the New Zealand Red Cross as a member of the Emergency / Disaster Response and Urban Search and Rescue team.

In 2015, Gary became a volunteer honorary fishery officer with the Ministry of Primary Industries and he is passionate about serving his community in protecting the environment.

Gary volunteers with the youth New Zealand Cadet Forces in Wellington passing on his seamanship knowledge from time in military. He is also a member of the United Nations Wellington Branch and has a passion for human rights and humanitarian work.

Cathy Howell (Wellington)

Known as "Ma" by all her kid’s friends, Cathy has been driving her number 14 bus through the streets of Wellington for the last six years.

She is treasured by her passengers, who all agree, that Cathy goes above and beyond just driving the bus. Cathy has received many commendations for her work and her kindness and support for those who travel on her bus.

Cathy has been known to show extra support to her elderly passengers, often helping them in her time off with gardening, cleaning or just keeping them company.

When she's not behind the wheel, Cathy is a veteran actor on the community theatre scene, performing with Wellington Repertory for the last 30 years.

Cathy also volunteers at her church at St Anne's in Newtown where she has retiled the church path, volunteered for the choir and vacuums the church weekly.

Pengbo Jiang (Te Aro)

Pengbo is passionate about migration experiences and acts as an advocate for new migrants. His involvement and contribution to community activities has been extensive and widespread.

He is involved in numerous community organisations in a voluntary capacity, including board member of Multi-cultural Learning and Support Services, committee member of New Zealand Association of Immigration Professionals, board member of Interpreting New Zealand, business mentor of Business Mentor New Zealand, committee member and publicity officer of New Zealand China Friendship Society- Wellington Branch and a student mentor of Victoria University in Wellington.

Through all of these roles, Pengbo works to foster and enhance friendly relationships in the community and has made significant contributions to promoting and raising funds for many projects.

Pengbo’s tireless efforts to make the community stronger and more vibrant reveals his true community spirit.

Anna O’Meeghan (Wadestown)

Anna joined the Wadestown/Kelburn Plunket Group in 2007 as the coffee group coordinator. The role required Anna to meet with new families and provide them with support and information during those first few months of their new and exciting lives.

Through Anna’s dedication she has encouraged them to meet new people in their community and in turn she has developed a strong support group for local families.

Since then Anna has moved into the role of president and one of her goals has been to maintain the facilities for the community. This has included organising volunteer groups to come in and paint the Plunket Rooms and ensuring the rooms are available for families when needed.

Anna is a hard-working volunteer and advocate for Plunket and a local hero to many families in her community.

Helen Kelly (Wellington)

– DECEASED (Helen’s brother Max Kelly accepted the award on her behalf)

A trained primary school teacher, Kelly taught for two and a half years before making her way into unionism.

She did not leave teaching here though and joined the Kindergarten Teachers Association as a union organizer. This lead to 20 years of fighting for better pay and conditions in education. From here she went on to represent teachers and universities.

In 2007 she was made president of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions and began a career fighting for change in many sectors including forestry, agriculture and in response to the Pike River Mine tragedy.

Diagnosed with lung cancer and undergoing aggressive chemotherapy took its toll on Helen and she stepped down from her Trade Union role in 2015.

This did not stop her fighting for the lives of others as she launched a campaign into legalising medicinal marijuana in the final year of her life.

Helen was a change maker and a hero to many in Wellington and across the country.

Anna Guenther (Wellington)

In 2012, Anna co-founded PledgeMe, New Zealand's first crowdfunding platform. The platform helps Kiwis fund things they care about through their crowds via donations.

Since its launch four years ago, the platform has raised more than $8.6million for over 980 creative, community and entrepreneurial campaigns - ranging from food producers through to craft brewers.

Anna has also worked for the New Zealand Government, Manukau Institute of Technology and Harvard, and completed her Masters in Entrepreneurship with a focus on crowdfunding.

Anna now speaks at many events encouraging more women to make their voices heard and also encouraging women to get into careers in technology.

Mark Jordan (Lower Hutt)

Mark is a volunteer with the Hutt Safe City Charitable Trust. For at least 40 weeks a year, Jordan spends his Friday and Saturday nights between 10pm and 3am sitting in Lower Hutt Police Station monitoring the CCTV cameras and looking for incidents that require assistance.

Additionally, during his shifts, Mark is acting as a point of contact for all working community patrols and Safe City Ambassador patrols.

On two occasions within the last twelve months he has noticed a member of the public in immediate need of assistance and has directed community patrols to help. On the first occasion the person was having a severe asthma attack and on the second occasion an 85-year-old man, suffering dementia was spotted in an area after going missing.

Passionate about keeping his community safe, Mark provides a safe pair of hands and eyes to watch over the Community Safety volunteers. He is a Hutt City Local Hero.

Josh Robertson (Trentham)

On the 22nd of April 2016, police dog handler Josh, was on a routine domestic call out in Porirua with his police dog Gazza. What started out as a regular day on the job was soon met with operational complications and disastrous consequences.

Josh's colleague was seriously injured and his dog Gazza was tragically shot dead. The incident received widespread media exposure and touched the hearts of kiwis and people internationally. Josh’s resilience and humility showed a professionalism and community mindedness unexpected at his time of grief.

Josh continues to be an upstanding police dog handler both on the beat and in the community, visiting schools, helping and educating people.

Charlotte Watkins (Stokes Valley)

As a caregiver, Charlotte is making a huge difference in the lives of her clients through her holistic approach to care.

Her clients describe her as having the ability to make people feel loved, valued, understood, supported and safe, when life can otherwise seem very challenging. She continues to put the needs of her clients before anything else.

Charlotte is often involved in supporting the wider family of her clients, insuring they get to enjoy time with their family member, often in ways they have not been able to before.

Charlotte is improving the quality of life for those who need it most and is a local hero to her clients and the friends and family who can see what a difference she is making.

Roz Brown (Upper Hutt)

For a number of years Roz has been delivering support to the women of the Hutt Women’s Centre and the Women’s Refuge through a variety of classes.

Roz is a yoga teacher by title but she is so much more to her local community.

She provides comfort and support for those in need, a listening and guiding ear, a hug or a phone call for those feeling lonely and she will drop everything to help someone in need.

Roz has been involved in some local politics, including chairing meetings and making a positive difference in her local community, wherever possible.

William Lindsay (Upper Hutt)

For more than 10 years, Bill has been keeping the people of Upper Hutt safe through his active roles with community patrols. As the manager of Wallaceville Cemetery for the last nine years, Bill has become well known amongst his local community.

Bill is secretary of the Upper Hutt Community Patrol, he has been involved as a trustee for Hutt Safe City and is secretary for Wellington District Community Patrol.

In addition to this community work, Bill is involved as a committee member of the property and finance committees at Upper Hutt Uniting Parish Centre and the Wesley Centre.

Amy Fanning (Eastbourne)

Amy has been volunteering for Plunket for almost three years. Starting as the treasurer for her local group, Amy was instrumental in reducing expenses for the group and maximising revenue by investing extra funds in a term deposit.

Amy was able to set accurate budgets for the team and initiated building maintenance projects to better the environment for families. She encouraged Eastbourne to join in the funding efforts for PEPE Pods for the Hutt Valley (fundraising for safe sleeping options for families).

She stepped in at the last minute during Plunket’s last appeal to organise door to door collection raising a large sum of money for the group.

Amy has also recently stepped into the chairperson role for the Eastbourne Group, keeping the group running efficiently and meeting the community’s needs.

Alex Bengree (Lower Hutt)

Alex has played a vital role in leading and developing the Hutt City Youth Council. After long periods of instability, Alex took it upon herself to reinvigorate the Council to give young people in the Hutt more opportunities.

Alex leads a project called "Ball 4 All", an event in which many young people with disabilities attend a ball where they may not be able to attend their own school ball.

She founded Te Whare Hauora Tautoko Rangatahi, a project which gives young people in the Hutt a safe environment to share their mental illness experiences with their peers. It also connects less advantaged young people with experienced counsellors and mental health services.

For the last 10 years, Alex has been active with Commonwealth Youth New Zealand and has played a key role in organising the group’s annual flagship event, the National Student Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. After participating in the event herself, Alex became an organiser of the event that sees 70 high school students spend two days in Wellington building their debating and reasoning skills, and gaining experience in working in an international setting.

Alex is also involved with Helping U Help Animals New Zealand (HUHA), where she volunteers and helps with homeless animals and provides dog behaviour and obedience training.

Jacqui and Alistair Sutherland (Wairarapa)

For 26 years, Alistair and Jacqui have been growing and donating daffodils to raise funds for the Wairarapa Cancer Society. Now stalwarts of the Daffodil Day appeal, they both work in an entirely voluntary capacity to donate 10,000-13,000 daffodils every year.

Over their 26 years’ services it is estimated that their daffodils will have raised in the region on $26,000.

This donation of Jacqui and Alistair’s time and skills has created a living legacy and all the money they have helped to raise has supported cancer patients and their families living in the Wairarapa.

They engage a whole community of friends, family and garden lovers to help pick the daffodils each year, all to support the fight against cancer.

Ian Stewart (Wairarapa)

Ian has served the Masterton and Wairarapa community over the past 60 years through his involvement in farming and the sport of sheep shearing.

Recognising a competitive environment for shearing, Ian along with some other locals believed that shearers would benefit from the chance to compete against one another. After helping run a successful competition at the Masterton Showgrounds in 1958, Ian became one of the driving forces behind establishing the first Golden Shears competition in 1961.

Ian has since served as a shearing judge, chief referee, on the disputes committee and as a committee member for 45 years, including time as vice president.

As a competitive shearer himself, Ian won the inaugural British Golden Shears in 1964 at the Royal Bath and West show.

Ian was of the founding members of the Shear History Trust. This trust has since built “The Woolshed” which is the National Sheep and Shearing museum in Masterton. Ian continues to be a much valued member of the trust board, successfully running the museum, which attracts seven to eight thousand visitors annually.

His innovative ideas and voluntary work for Golden Shears and Shear History Trust continues to this day and even as he approaches his 80th year his abilities and work ethic have not wavered.

Robert Francis (Wairarapa)

Bob has dedicated his life to the Wairarapa, and the people who live there.

After 21 years as Mayor of Masterton, Bob has not given up his commitment to community service and the Wairarapa. At the age of 74, Bob is putting in more hours per week than most half his age.

As patron of Age Concern Wairarapa and the Wairarapa Cancer Society, he is able to draw on his huge network of devoted contacts, to ensure those that require assistance get it.

His commitment to Economic Development continues, as chair of Water Wairarapa, Wings of Wairarapa, Wairarapa Development Group and the National Wildlife Centre at Pukaha Mount Bruce. He works hard for the arts as chair of the Kokomai Creative Festival and Aratoi Foundation.

He is driving the bid for the establishment of a $12m National Aviation Centre in Masterton. While he may not live to see it in action for long, Bob is more interested in getting things done while he can.

Joy Cowley (Wairarapa)

Joy is a prolific, widely-published and much-celebrated writer of fiction for adults and children.

Joy began her career writing short stories and novels before moving into the realm of children’s literature. She has published numerous novels, as well as short stories that have featured in journals, anthologies and book-length collections.

Her children’s books and stories are often illustrated by renowned artists. Joy was made a Distinguished Companion of New Zealand Order of Merit for services to children's literature in 2005 and was awarded a Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement for Fiction in 2010.

Rawiri (Ra) Smith (Wairarapa)

Ra is an educator, environmentalist, community leader, story teller, inspiration and promoter of champion communities.

His contributions to the community include environmental manager for Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, chairperson of Hauora (a health and wellbeing trust) and a newly appointed representative on the Masterton District Council for Kahungunu.

He is a committee member on Te Upuko Taiao (the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s leading partnership council), a facilitator of Te Kotahitanga Wairarapa hapū marae collective and a member of Sustainable Wairarapa.

Ra was the initiator of the Carterton Landscape, a project completed in partnership with groups of New Zealand and international landscape architecture students who have been developing creative new solutions to Marae, catchment, and large scale restoration projects.

Justine Fleming (Otaki)

Committee member of the Otaki Surf Lifesaving Club and the Capital Coast Local Life Saving Committee, Justine was named 2016 Volunteer of the Year for the Capital Coast Surf Life Saving region.

At club level Justine instructed five new lifeguards this season and helped organise Otaki's refresher lifeguard weekend, assessing over 30 lifeguards’ skills to ensure core competencies.

She also completed 40.5 voluntary patrol hours and upskilled lifeguards in CPR, First Aid and water-based rescue skills.

Through her lifeguarding, training, and committee roles (at club and regional levels) Justine is involved in all aspects of club activity including fund raising on Jandal Day, running raffles and sausage sizzles at the local New World store.

Justine is an important member of the Otaki Surf Lifesaving Club and the local community.

Sam Hart (Te Horo)

Sam is a loyal, dedicated and compassionate volunteer for HUHA, a charitable trust dedicated to teaching empathy to the community and providing shelter for those less fortunate animals. For more than five years she has been guiding and inspiring a team of 10 volunteers.

Passionate about the rights and welfare of animals, Sam volunteers many hours to ensure that animals are found the right homes.

This includes meeting with owners and viewing their property to ensure that these animals can be housed and cared for properly.

Sam and her team of volunteers led the rescue and rehabilitation of 38 wild Kaimanawa horses and finding them homes. Thanks to these efforts these horses have a bright new future.

Through Sam’s dedication, many animals are going on to live longer lives in the surrounds of a loving home.

Jillian Boyd (Waikanae)

Jillian is an amazing volunteer who currently holds three roles in Plunket’s Kapiti Group.

Jillian is the groups secretary and treasurer and in wanting to ensure the Kapiti Plunket space remained a space that families could use as and when needed, so she took on the rooms booking role to ensure the continuation of this service.

Without the huge impact Jillian makes, the Plunket services in the Kapiti area would be lacking. She is passionate about what services Plunket can offer and is dedicated to supporting families in her community.

She is valuable to the Kapiti group and families in the area, spending a lot of time helping with anything that needs completing within the group.

Corey Regnerus (Palmerston North)

Corey has already stamped his mark in his chosen career; firstly from his role within the university and secondly, for an invention that has received accolades within the dairying community.

President of the MUVSA (Massey University Veterinary Student Association), Corey has introduced systems and standards to ensure the body best represents it members. One example was his idea to introduce a pet education day where vet students get to meet the people of Palmerston North, and offer help and education regarding their family pets

Corey also co-founded Vet Confessionals, a platform where vet students can confidentially share their worries and get support. This was a long process that involved personal effort and money as sponsorship was not always possible.

Corey recently won the entrepreneurs award in Manawatu’s Innovate 2015 with his Milk E-Z invention. The invention, which is currently being patented, will help dairy farmers maximise productivity and therefore profit.

Despite the big workload of a veterinary student, Corey is seen to be always striving to help others from his classmates, and colleagues, through to the farms where he does his placements.

Russell Leech (Timaru)* (Receiving his medal in Wellington on December 5th)

Russell joined the YMCA because he wanted to be able to give back to the community and to help young people.

He has now served time as a national board member (since 2006) and held the position of president in 2010 and again in 2011.

He was the national treasurer from 2011 to 2015 and has been a member of the YMCA of Mid and South Canterbury board since 1998.

In 2015 Russell was awarded YMCA New Zealand life membership for his services to the national movement over many years. Over the years he has contributed many hours of voluntary service to communities across New Zealand.

Nicky Barton

PR Consultant


04 499 6940

0273 060 603

Lv. 12 City Chambers

142 Featherston Street


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