Recipients of Citizens Awards 2016

22 June 2016

Twelve people from around New Plymouth District were presented with Citizens’ Awards yesterday (Tuesday).

 Mayor Andrew Judd says the variety of work the recipients are involved in is heartening, ranging from sports and music to social work and education.

“It is people such as these 12 who help make New Plymouth District such an inclusive community and a great place to live,” says the Mayor.

“They have given so much of their time for the benefit of other people and community organisations that it’s appropriate for us to say ‘well done’ and give them the acknowledgement they deserve.”

The recipients of the Citizens’ Awards 2016 are:

Gary Brown (New Plymouth)

A successful architect, Gary designed the New Plymouth District Council building among many others throughout the country. He has been involved with the New Plymouth Rotary Club for more than 35 years, and in 2004 was awarded a prestigious Paul Harris Fellowship – the highest international accolade any Rotarian can receive.

Gary joined Atawhai Industries in 1983, a charitable trust that assists people with intellectual disabilities into meaningful activities and paid employment, and has been chairman of the trust since 2013.

He was previously a member of the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce (including one year as Chairman), and a member of the board of Tourism Taranaki where he was part of an extensive study of the feasibility of building a gondola to access the Maunganui Ski Field and Fantham’s Peak in 1996/97served on the board, with a year spent as Chairman.

Gary has been a Justice of the Peace since 1986 and a trustee of the North Taranaki Men’s Shed Inc since its inception in 2012.

Donald Frank (NP)

Don served on the committee of the New Plymouth Community Food Bank for 11 years: two as Secretary and nine as President. During this time the food bank needed to relocate, for which Don found a temporary dwelling. The next challenge was to raise funds to build a new premises, which waswas successfully achieved in 2000. 

Don has been involved in St Mary’s Church as a parishioner for more than 40 years. During this time he provided a number of services to the church, including holding the position of “sides person” (which involved greeting other parishioners and visitors), producing the church newsletter, serving two one-year terms on the vestry and teaching Bible studies at Woodleigh School for five years.

As a member of the Pakeke Lions, Don drove the Puff ‘n’ Stuff train for 10 years and was made a Life Member of Lions International. Don has also been a member of the New Plymouth Host Lions for 15 years.

As part of Friends of the Park, Don was the convener and drive of the buggy in Pukekura Park for many years.

Don has supported Pukeiti financially for 10 years and participated in working bees, and has also participated in a Rotary-sponsored Reading in Schools programme for four years at Merrilands primary and Highlands intermediate schools.

Frances Hume (Waitara)

Frances has worked with the Foundation of the Blind for 45 years, spending many hours teaching people how to use talking books and helping lonely people through a bad patch by talking to them. In addition, Frances has been involved in fundraising, baking (her baking skills are legendary) and transport.

Frances has been involved with the Red Cross for 30 years, spending a lot of her time transporting patients to appointments in and around New Plymouth. She visits the hospital frequently, taking magazines, books and of course baking, and helps out with fundraising.

Frances helped with Meals on Wheels for 18 years and has worked with the women’s section of the RSA, assisting in the kitchen, collecting on Poppy Day and attending Anzac services.

A member of the Buffalo Lodge for 21 years, Frances was involved in the workings of the organisation while also helping members with anything they required. While a member, Frances achieved their highest rank of Lady Primo.

Frances and her late husband were members of the local Pistol Club and spent many hours in the kitchen preparing and serving meals for members during events held for visiting teams.

Bruce Richards (NP)

Bruce has been involved in voluntary roles within the community for more than 20 years.

A trustee of the New Plymouth YMCA for six years in the 1980s, Bruce is now Chairman of the Y Community Stadium Trust – of which he has been member since retiring as trustee.

Bruce was a Trustee of Merrilands Primary School from 1987 to 1993, and of New Plymouth Girls’ High School from 2001 to 2007. He was also one of three founding trustees for the Taranaki Arts Festival (and has remained a trustee since 1990), and is a trustee for the Taranaki Rescue Helicopter Trust since the trust was incorporated in 1991.

Bruce provided voluntary professional assistance to Southcare, a South Taranaki Community Paroject that was set up by combining a number of medical practices in South Taranaki.

A member of the New Zealand Snowboard Association since 2002, Bruce is currently Treasurer and an Executive Member. Bruce and his family became members of the Stratford Mountain Club in the 1970s. He has been a member of the executive since 1978 and was elected as President in 1992, serving for three years. Bruce was awarded a life membership of the Stratford Mountain Club in 2000.

Bruce was on the Executive of the New Zealand Surfing Association from 1970 to 1972. In 1987 the New Plymouth Surfriders Club was formed, of which Bruce was one of the 67 foundation members. He has been the honorary auditor since the club was formed.

Bruce is also the honorary auditor for the New Plymouth Joggers and Walkers Club, Waiwaka Tennis Club, YMCA Community Stadium Trust, Friends of the Art Gallery, Taranaki Paraplegic Association and the Taranaki Branch of the Accident Support Services of New Zealand.

Nigel Austin (Inglewood)

Nigel has been involved with the Inglewood Cricket Club since the 1970s, having been on the committee for more than 20 years (and is still President today). After being on two jubilee committees (the 100th and 125th), Nigel was made a life member.

In addition to his work on the committee, Nigel has spent endless hours helping build the clubrooms, was responsible for laying three artificial wickets in the community, prepared the grass wicket used for premier and senior grade matches and spent 10 years as a member of the competitions committee with the Taranaki Cricket Association.

A founding member of the Inglewood Runners and Walkers Club, Nigel was made a life member in recognition of the voluntary positions held over the last 34 years. He has been involved in events such as The Mountain to Surf Marathon, Round the Mountain Relay and Nexans/Olex Fun Run Walk Series. Nigel has always been a great ambassador for running, taking the time to pass on his knowledge, enthusiasm and support to young people.

Nigel has been involved in Search and Rescue Taranaki in excess of 15 years and took it upon himself to maintain the Taranaki SAR remote field kitchen, which is a valuable asset to the team.

He has been involved with TET Athletics Taranaki for countless years, volunteering in track and field, cross-country and road events along with major events hosted on behalf of Athletics New Zealand and New Zealand Secondary Schools.

Nigel has been a member of the Inglewood United Rugby Football for more than 60 years, being involved as a player, coach and committee member. He is the first man at working bees and fundraising events, spends eight hours marking out the main field, and on game day he’ll be at one of the entrance gates greeting fans.  

Nigel is involved in the Inglewood Community Garden Project which supports families in need, and was also part of the organising committee for the Kaimata School and District 125th Jubilee in 2015.

He is also responsible for checking, clearing and resetting a stoat line on Upper Dudley Road in Inglewood, and has helped with the eradication of pests for the Conservation Department in Purangi District.

Alistar Jordan (Egmont Village)

Alistar has had a long involvement with Taranaki cricket. He played for the province from 1966 to 1992, Central Districts from 1968 to 1981 and New Zealand in 1972.

He has served on the committee of the New Plymouth Old Boys’ Cricket Club for 50 years, during which time he has been a player, team captain and coach. He has had a number of leading roles within the club including raising funds and building club infrastructure such as clubrooms, cricket nets and pitches. In addition to this he has served in administration roles for the New Plymouth Old Boys’ cricket club and sports club (rugby, cricket and netball).

In 1992 he started coaching, first at New Plymouth Old Boys and then the Taranaki team. He remains a Taranaki selector to this day and coaches on an “as required” basis.

In 1991 he was made a life member of the New Plymouth Old Boys’ Cricket Club, and in 2010 a life member of the Taranaki Cricket Association.

In 2000 he was appointed an ambassador for the Taranaki Events Centre Trust, the role of promoting the newly development rugby park facility.

In January 2011 he was selected by New Zealand Cricket in the Hawke Cup “Team of the Century”, an honour bestowed on only 11 players in the history of the Hawke Cup competition, going back to 1910. In November 2011 he was inducted into the Taranaki Sports Hall of Fame.

Geetha Kutty (NP)

Geetha has worked tirelessly with the migrant community since Settlement Support closed, on a voluntary basis.

Geetha goes above and beyond to make sure that she does all she can to help migrants in need get the services and resources they require. Despite being unsuccessful with some funding applications, Geetha has continued to work for free to ensure that there is a continuity of services and pastoral care available.

Geetha has helped retain skilled people in the region despite a flat economy.

Graeme and Marise Northcott (Urenui)

Graeme and Marise have been involved with the Urenui and Okoki dog trials for more than 40 years, including organising prizes, sponsors, advertising, labour for the courses, social aspects, judging, trophies and of course food.

They have always been a community minded couple, and have raised money and spent time keeping the Okoki Hall maintained for community events. 

Graeme was secretary for the Urenui Club from 1975 to 2006. He was a Taranaki Sheep Dog Trial publicity officer for 12-15 years and served as a delegate for Taranaki to the New Zealand Association, and over the years he has given dog and sheep trial demonstrations to schoolchildren.

Graeme has won a number of titles including eight Taranaki Centre, three North Island and two New Zealand titles. He has also won more than 100 hill trials all over the North Island and has judged more than 120 trials, including the North Island Championships and New Zealand Championships in 1995.

With great determination and focus, Graeme established an enthusiastic team which began the Indoor Showring Trial at Hawera, which has gone from strength to strength over the last four years.

Malcolm Pearce (NP)

Malcolm is a local dairy farmer who has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity since it was formed in North Taranaki in 1995. The local board is totally volunteer-based and Malcolm has been a Director for 20 years and the Chairman for six.

Malcolm has also served on the National Board representing the Lower North Island region, including Nelson. He has spent an extremely large amount of time overseeing the smooth running of this affiliate, along with helping progress the organisation throughout New Zealand. Having served on the National Board for two years he continues to lead teams of volunteers overseas on Habitat projects at least once or twice a year.

Malcolm has served on the Habitat for Humanity Family Selection Committee and is the presenter at their information evenings. He has helped change the lives of families for the better, even when they have not succeeded in becoming a Habitat partner family. He continues to meet with families when they are in strife and helps them find a better solution to progress their lives.

Malcolm is also an Elder at Northpoint Baptist Church in Bell Block.

Anand Rose (NP)

Anand is an exceptional champion of local art, music and musicians. A quiet community hero, he is making a big difference in our community.

He is a promoter, a musician, MC, radio host, event organiser, sound engineer, graphic designer, social media expert, journalist, filmmaker and marketer. He co-founded Singer-Songwriters New Plymouth, is responsible for the Pop Up Gigs Network, and is the founder of Epic Sandwich (a collaboration of Taranaki artists who perform in New Plymouth weekly) and countless other events, bringing commerce to local performance venues.

He pulls together seemingly impossible events at short notice, including major fundraisers for the Pacific Islands following the 2009 tsunami and for Canterbury after the earthquakes. 

Anand was instrumental in promoting the 48-Hour Film Festival within Taranaki and always encouraged and supported many young and inexperienced filmmakers to participate and showcase the region’s talents.

Anand is an advocate of local original talent and has fostered and grown the hopes and dreams of many. He gives himself to supporting developing talent and championing artist exposure.

Colleen Tuuta (Bell Block)

Colleen Tuuta is well known for her proactive community engagement in a wide spectrum of activities, both at a grass roots voluntary capacity and in roles of statutory responsibility.

Colleen was a director of TSB Bank for six years and also the Chair of the TSB Community Trust where she personally oversaw the development of the trust so that it was not only more responsive to the needs of the community but was also managed professionally.

She has also been very active in the Maori community, both locally and nationally, where her high level of people skills, a keen perception of what needs to be done to improve performance, excellent writing and presenting skills and a dedication to any task presented to her have resulted in her being sought to undertake a number of Government contracts.

Her role with the Te Kaumatua o Whaitara Community Group includes building up members’ cultural confidence and engaging them in social and wealth creation enterprises. She has also been Chairperson for Tu Tama Wahine o Taranaki, a board member for Ngati Mutunga and a ministerial appointee for the whanau reference group the Families Commission.

She is quick to respond to requests to assist with fundraising and promotional activities in the community and is also well-known to be a selfless contributor from her own resources.

Colleen has also been a promoter of social entrepreneurship and the encouragement of local philanthropy. To further these aims she has been honoured with an Inspiring Communities Scholarship to Canada and was a foundation member of Philanthropy New Zealand.